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Full text of "Works of George Swinnock, M.A"

tihtavy of Ithe Cheolojical ^eminarjo 


The Rev. John M. Krebs 
Class of 1832 

BX 9315 .S9 V.5 

Swinnock, George, 1627-1673. 




(S^mral l^nface 





VOL. V. 


W. LINDSAY ALEXANDER, D.D., Professor of Theology, Congregational 
Union, Edinburgh. 

JAMES BEGG, D.D., Minister of Newington Free Church, Edinburgh. 

THOMAS J. CRAWFORD, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University, 

D, T. K. DRUMMOND, M.A., Minister of St Thomas's Episcopal Church, 

WILLIAM H. GOOLD, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature and Chunh 
History, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 

ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presby- 
terian Church, Edinburgh. 

liJeneral iCDitor. 
REV. THOMAS SMITH, D.D., Edinburgh. 



VOL. V. 














The Epistle Dedicatory, ..... 3-8 . 

To THE Reader, ...... 9 

An Epistle TO THE Reader, ..... 10-14 


I. The opening of the words, and the doctrine, . 15-19 

II. The description or nature of regeneration in the 

several causes of it, . . . .20-38 

III, The reason why regeneration is necessary in aU that 

will obtain salvation, .... 38-41 

IV. The first use of the doctrine, containing the gross 

delusion of all unregeuerate persons, . . 41-46 

V. Shewing the insufficiency of ten particulars to speak 

a Christian's right to heaven, . . . 46-83 

VI. A use by way of trial, wherein the character of re- 
generate persons is set down, with some quicken- 
ing motives to examination, . . . 83-112 
VII. Containing more marks of a regenerate person, . 112-120 
VIII. Containing an exhortation to endeavour after re- 
generation, ..... 120-123 

IX. The first help to regeneration. Serious consideration, 123-128 
X. The first subject of consideration, The misery of the 

unregeuerate in this world, . . . 128-135 

XI. The misery of the unregeuerate in the other 

world, ...... 136-144 

XII. The second subject of consideration, The felicity 

of the regenerate in this world, . . . 144-160 

XIII. The felicity of the regenerate in the other world, . 160-174 



XIV. The third subject of consideration, The excellency 

of regeneration, .... 174-188 

XV. The fourth subject of consideration. The necessity 

of regeneration, .... 188-194 

XVI. The fifth subject of consideration, The equity of re- 
generation, or living to God, . . . 194-200 
XVII. The second help to regeneration, An observation 
or knowledge of those several steps whereby the 
spirit of God reneweth other souls, and a pliable 
carriage and submission to its workings and 
motions, ..... 200-234 
The third help to regeneration, . . 234-242 
XVIII. An answer to three objections, . . . 242-251 
XIX. An exhortation to the regenerate, . . " . 251-257 
XX. A second exhortation to the regenerate, to do what 

they can for the conversion of others, . . 257-261 


The Epistle Dedicatory, ..... 265-266 
To THE Readee, ...... 267-268 

I. The preface and introduction to the text, . . 269-274 

II. The division and brief explication of, . . 274-278 

III. Concerning the privative part of the sinner's punish- 

ment, ...... 278-281 

IV. The properties of the sinner's loss, . . 281-283 
V. The reasons of the sinner's privative punishment. . 283-285 

VI. Uses concerning the heinous nature of sin, and 

grievous misery of sinners, , . . 285-290 

VII. Containing the folly of sinners, and the vast differ- 
ence between them and the godly at the great 
day, ...... 290-293 

VIII. A use of trial, with the marks of those that shall 

be banished Christ's presence, . . . 293^294 

IX, An exhortation to fly from this wrath to come, with 

some helps thereunto, .... 294-296 

X. The positive part of the sinner's misery, expressed 

by fire, and why, .... 296-298 

XL The difference between our fires and hell fires, . 298-301 



XII. The fulness of wicked men's misery, in that it is 
positive and privative, w^ith some cautions against 
it, ..... . 301-303 

XIII. The eternity of the sinner's misery in the other 

world, with the grand reason of it, , . 303-305 

XIV. How little cause to envy sinners, and how careful 

we should be to avoid their eternal misery, . 305-307 

XV. The reason of Christ's severe sentence, and a ques- 
tion resolved. Whether the righteous, by their 
acts of charity, do not deserve heaven, as well as 
the wicked, by their omission thereof, deserve hell, 308-311 
XVI. Why Christ will try men at the great day by acts 

of charity, ..... 311-315 

XVII. Three particulars about the text, . . . 315-317 

XVIII. That sins of omission are dangerous and damnable, 317-310 
XIX. The nature of sins of omission in general, . . 319-320 

XX. Three distinctions about sins of omission, . . 321-324 

XXI. The agreement and difference between sins of omis- 
sion and sins of commission, . . 324-327 
XXII. The danger of sins of omission, in the heinous 

nature of them, and their offensiveness to God, . 327-333 

XXIII. The danger of sins of omission, in their destructive- 

ness to man, and our proneness to overlook 

them, ...... 333-339 

XXIV. The reasons why sins of omission are damnable, . 339-343 
XXV. Further reasons why Christ at the great day will 

condemn men for sins of omission, . . 343-348 

XXVI. Of the doctrine by Avay of information. How dread- 
ful will be the condition of those that live in 
sins of commission, .... 348— .352 
XXVII. Negative godliness is not enough.— Christ's impar- 
tiality in judgment, .... 352-357 
XXVIII. Practical godliness necessary, . . . 358-360 

XXIX. The condition of men only civil is unsafe and sad, 360-364 
XXX. Sinners' conviction at the day of judgment. The 

purity of Christ's religion above all others, . 364-370 

XXXI. The holiest have cause of humiliation, . . 370-373 

XXXII. Use of trial, whether we be guilty of these omis- 
sions or no, ..... 373-379 

XXXIII. A caution against sins of omission in regard of the 

matter of duties, .... 379-385 

XXXIV. Arguments against omissions. The positiveness of 

our rule, and of God's mercies, . . . 386-389 














Arguments against omissions. Christ purchased 
positive as well as negative holiness, and our 
privileges oblige to both. 

Arguments against omissions. We profess ourselves 
God's servants, and all our religion will come to 
nothing without positive holiness, 

Arguments against omissions. God deserves our 
positive obedience before all others, and true 
sanctification cannot be without it, 

If God should omit his care of us a moment we are 
undone. And if Christ had omitted the least in 
our work of redemption, we had been lost irre- 
coverably, ..... 

Arguments against sins of omission. The new 
nature in believers inclines them to positive as 
well as negative holiness, and the profit will an- 
swer the pains, .... 

Arguments against sins of omission. God delights 
chiefly in our doing good ; and our opportunities 
for doing good will quickly be gone. 

The grand cause of sins of omission, an unregene- 
rate heart ; with the cure of it, a renewed nature. 

Another cause of sins of omission, ignorance ; with 
the cure of it, labouring after knowledge. 

Another cause of sins of omission, idleness, with the 
cure of it, . 

Another cause of omissions is vain excuses men 
have, that omissions are little sins ; with the cure 
of it, . 

Another excuse for sins of omission, which is a 
cause of them, that they would be unseasonable, 
and so are deferred to that time which never 
comes ; with the answer to it, . 

A third excuse for sins of omission, it is but one 
sin ; with the answer to it, . 

A fifth cause of sins of omission, the example of 
others; with the cure of it, . 











A VERY brief space will suffice to give the reader all the informa- 
tion that we have been able to procure respecting the life of the 
author of these works. 

George Swinnock was born at Maidstone in the year 1627. We 
learn some particulars respecting his family from the dedication of 
one of his works. The treatise called " The Fading of the Flesh" 
was originally a funeral sermon preached on occasion of the death 
of Mr Caleb Swinnock. To it is prefixed a twofold dedication ; one 
to the widow of Caleb Swinnock, the other to the Mayor, &c., of 
Maidstone. Mrs Caleb Swinnock he addresses as his " Honoured 
Cousin." Now, of course, we know that this term was used with 
great latitude, but we think it probable that Caleb was his cousin- 
german. In the dedication to the Mayor and corporation of Maid- 
stone, he says, — " The occasion of it, as is well known to you, was 
the death of your neighbour, and my dear relation, Master Caleb 
Swinnock, who was interred May 21, 1662, whose fjither and 
grandfather had three or four times enjoyed the highest honour, 
and exercised tlie highest office, in your corporation." Now if, as we 
suppose, Caleb was the full cousin of George, Caleb's father must 
have been George's uncle, and Caleb's grandfather must have been 
George's grandfather. If then his grandfather and his uncle were 
three or four times chosen to the Mayoralty of Maidstone, the 
family must have been one of good standing in the place. 

From one of these dedications we learn further, that George was 
brought up for some time in the house of Kobert, the father of 
Caleb ; and from this it is perhaps admissible to conjecture that 
he lost his own father at an early age, and was adopted by his 


iincle Robert. The passage containing the information from which 
we draw this inference gives us an interesting view of the arrange- 
ments of a Puritan household, and of the early training which our 
author received. It is as follows : — 

" I had the happiness some time to be brought up with him in' 
his father's, Mr Robert Swinnock's family ; whose house — I cannot 
but speak it to the glory of God — had holiness to the Lord written 
upon it. His manner was to pray twice a day by himself, once or 
twice a day with his wife, and twice a day with his family, besides 
singing psalms, reading and expounding scriptures, which morning 
and evening were minded. The Sabbath he dedicated wholly to 
God's service, and did not only himself, but took care that all 
within his gate should spend the day in secret and private duties, 
and in attendance on public ordinances. Of their proficiency by 
the last, he would take an account upon their return from the 
assembly. His house indeed was, as Tremellius saith of Cranmer's, 
Palcestra pietatis, a school of religion." 

It is evidently from this passage that Wood derived his informa- 
tion respecting the early years of Swinnock. The prominent par- 
ticulars of his after-life are sufficiently stated in Wood's account, 
the greater part of which we transfer to our pages. 

" George Swinnock was born in the ancient borough of Maid- 
stone, in Kent, anno 1627 ; brought up religiously, when a child, 
in the family of Robert Swinnock, a most zealous Puritan of that 
town ; educated in Cambridge, till he was Bachelor of Arts ; went 
to Oxon to get preferment, in the latter end of 1647, at which time 
he entered himself a Commoner of Magdalen Hall. Soon after he 
became one of the Chaplains of New College, and, on the 6th day 
of October following, (1648,) he was made Fellow of Bal. College, 
by the authority of the visitors appointed by Parliament. In 1650 
he became vicar of Rickmansworth, in Hertfordshire, and there- 
upon resigning his Fellowship, on the 24th of November the same 
year, took the degree of Master of Arts six days after. In 1660, 
or thereabouts, he was made vicar of Great Kemble, in Bucks, and 
in August 1662, being ejected for Nonconformity, he was received 
into the family of Richard Hampden, of Great Hampden, in the said 
county of Bucks, Esq., and continued with him for some time in 
the quality of a chaplain. At length, upon the issuing out of His 
Majesty's declaration for liberty of conscience, in the latter end of 


the year 1671, he retired to his native place, where he continued in 
preaching and praying among the godly till the time of his death. 

His works are these, 

" What other things this Mr Swinnock (who was accounted an 
eminent preacher among those of his persuasion) hath written I 
know not, nor anything else of him, only that he died on the 10th 
day of November 1673, and was buried in the church of Maidstone 
before-mentioned. In that most virulent and diabolical pamphlet 
called Mirabilis Annus Secundus, is a story of one Mr Swinnock, 
a minister in St Martin's Lane, near Canon Street, in London, 
sometime chaplain to one of the Sheriffs of that city, who, for his 
conformity to the Church of England, and for wearing a surplice, 
which he began to do on the 21st of September 1662, (after he had 
often said among the brethren he would rather burn than conform, 
&G., as the author of the said Mirabilis Annus Secundus saith), it 
pleased the Lord (as he further adds) to strike him with sickness, 
which proved a violent burning fever, whereof, within a few days 
after, before another Lord's day came about, he died, &c. Who 
this Mr Swinnock was I cannot tell ; neither doth the author set 
down his Christian name, otherwise we might have said some- 
thing more of him — something to the disproof of that most vile 

This account of our Swinnock is less tainted with bitterness than 
are most of Antony's notices of distinguished Puritans ; but his 
characteristic animus is displayed in the gratuitous introduction of 
the other Swinnock, with whom he had nothing whatever to do, in- 
asmuch as he had no ground for supposing that he was an Oxonian, 
or rather, he had the certainty that he was not an Oxonian. It 
is very much as if he had said : W^ell, I have nothing very par- 
ticular to say against George Swinnock ; but there is another 
Swinnock about whom a certain story is told. It will be noticed 
he had no suspicion that that Swinnock was the man of whom 
he was writing, for he knew quite well that he was never a 
minister in London. It would be rather hard if any particular 
member of the family, say, of the Smiths, were to be held guilty 
of all the misdeeds ever committed by all who have borne that 
not unfrequent name ! It is amusing also to notice the logic of 
his assumption. If he only knew something of the matter, he 
would certainly be able to " disprove that most vile author." 


The account of Swianock contained in the " Nonconformist's 
Memorial" is very brief. It is as follows : — ■ 

" Great Kymble, [V.] £23. George Swinnock, M.A., born at 
Maidstone in Kent. He was first at Cambridge, and removed to 
Oxford, where he was chosen Fellow of Baliol Col. After his 
ordination he was vicar of Rickmansworth, Herts; and then of 
Great Kymble, where he was ejected for Nonconformity in 1662; 
upon which he became chaplain to R. Hampden, Esq. of Great 
Hampden. Upon the Indulgence in 1672, he removed to Maid- 
stone, where he became pastor of a considerable congregation- 
He died Nov. 10, 1673. He was a man of good abilities, and a 
serious, warm, and practical useful preacher. 

" WoKKS. — The Door of Salvation opened by the Key of Re- 
generation. The Christian Man's Calling. Heaven and Hell 
Epitomized. The Beauty of Magistrates. Treatise on the Incom- 
parableness of God in His Being, Attributes, &c. The Sinner's 
last Sentence. The Life of Mr J. Wilson. Several occasional 

It will be noticed that we have not inserted the life of Mr 
Wilson amongst Swinnock's M'orks. It would have been scarcely 
in keeping with the character of this series to have included a 
merely biographical work. 

As to the merits of Swinnock as an author, we beg to subjoin 
the estimate of the late Dr James Hamilton of London, with 
which we substantially agree : — 

"George Swinnock was a native of Maidstone in Kent, and for 
some time was a fellow of Baliol College, Oxford. His first charge 
was Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, but at the time of his ejection 
from the Church of England, he had been translated to Great 
Kymble, in Bucks. For nine years thereafter, he was chaplain to 
the great protector of Nonconformity in Buckinghamshire, Richard 
Hampden; but availing himself of the indulgence in 1671, he 
removed to his native town, Maidstone, and became pastor of a 
considerable congregation there, and died Nov. 10, 1673. 

" Except to a few collectors, the writings of Swinnock are almost 
unknown ; but we confess that we have rejoiced in them as those 
that find great spoil. So pithy and pungent, and so practical, few 
books are more fitted to keep the attention awake, and few so richly 
reward it. No doubt there are a good many far-fetched similes, 


and not a little apocryphal science ; but these are what we look 
for in that period of our literature, and they are abundantly over- 
balanced by a rare amount of sanctified wit and wisdom. 

" For instance, to show that ' the lack of fervency is the loss of 
many prayers/ he subjoins — ' The lazy petition is eaten up by wan- 
dering thoughts, like cold honey by wasps and flies ; whilst fervent 
prayers, like honey boiling over the fire, are free from such ill 
guests.' Again, to illustrate the same idea, ' There is no getting 
to the Indian Mines by the cold northern seas ; though, because it 
is a shorter cut, some have attempted that way, and lost their 
labour.' Amongst many other curiosities of natural history, he 
tells us — on the authority of Pliny, however — that ' when one bee 
is sick, the rest in the hive are all sad ; ' and he mentions that 
horse-hairs, by lying nine days under water, turn to snakes. In 
our own boyhood we remember a species of gordius, common in 
still water, which the country people believed to be an animated 
horse-hair. But some of his inferences are so ingenious, that we 
must not quarrel with the fact on which they are founded. Thus : 
' There is a story of a bastard eagle, which hath one foot close like 
a goose, with which she swims in the waters, and dives for fish ; 
and another foot open, and armed with talons, with which she 
soareth in the air, and seizeth her prey ; but she, participating of 
both natures, is weak in either, and at last becomes a prey to every 
ordinary vulture. The ambidexter in religion, who is both for the 
flesh and the spirit, for riches and righteousness, is all his time a 
servant of sin, and will at last become a prey to Satan.' Again: 
' As the carbuncle, a beast among the blackamoors, which is seen 
only by night, having a stone in his forehead, which shineth in- 
credibly and giveth him light whereby to feed, but when he heareth 
the least noise, he presently lets fall over it a skin which he hath 
as a natural covering, lest its splendour should betray him ; so the 
half-Christian shines with the light of holiness by fits and starts — 
every fright makes him hold in and hide it.' " 

With reference to his erroneous views on some points in natural 
history, we would notice that he does not generally seem to us to 
believe them himself, but to use them simply as illustrations, as 
many writers among ourselves would have to scruple in deriving an 
illustration from the fable of the phoenix. 

To our thinking, the greatest defect in his works is a certain 
want of concentration. There are many chapters in some of his 


treatises which are very admirable in themselves, but which do not 
seem to have any special right to the places which they occupy. 
They look somewhat as if he had had them by him, and thought 
them too good to be lost. In this we quite agree, but would rather 
have had them as separate treatises or fragments. 

But despite slight blemishes, the writings of Swinnock are of a 
very high order. His principal work, " The Christian Man's Calling," 
is one of the fullest, and, we venture to think, one of the best ex- 
hibitions of the gospel in its application to the ordinary affairs of 
life. There are few better works of practical religion in our lan- 
guage. We commend the whole works to the prayerful and 
frequent perusal of Christian readers, and them to the grace and 
blessing of our God. 


As about a third part of vol. iv. is by Mr Hall, we subjoin the 
account of him given in the " Nonconformist's Memorial": — 

" Norton, Kings [C. or D.] Thomas Hall, B.D. Of Oxford, under 
Dr Lushington. Born at Worcester. He here succeeded his 
brother Mr John Hall, when he removed to Bromsgrove, and 
applied himself in earnest to do good to souls. His salary being 
small, he kept the free-school, and continued single. As God 
owned his labours in the place, he would not be persuaded to leave 
it, though solicited with a promise of far greater preferment. 
During the civil war he was often accused, cursed, threatened 
with death, plundered, and five times imprisoned. He constantly 
preached twice on the Lord's-day, and held lectures abroad, besides 
his exposition, catechising, private admonition, &c. He was a very 
hard student, and considerable scholar, a well-furnished divine, a 
man of a public spirit, and intent upon spreading knowledge. He 
gave many valuable books to the library at Birmingham, and per- 
suaded his brethren to do the same. He prevailed with the parish 
to build a public library, and gave to it the books in his own study 
in his life-time. He was of a free and liberal heart ; and when his 
property was gone, he lived by faith. In his last illness his stock 
was reduced to sixpence ; but he was easy, and said it was enough ; 
and so it proved, with providential additions; for before it was 


gone, several sealed papers of money were sent him by unknown 
friends. He was of a holy and unblameable life ; very humble and 
easy of access to the meanest inhabitant of his parish, whom he was 
as ready to serve, if in his power, as the greatest. He was a great 
lover of peace, but would in no case part with purity to purchase 
it. He was a plain, but fervent and useful preacher; who taught 
by his life, as well as by his doctrine. He was a man of a very 
lovely and active spirit, never cast down with difficulties, and not- 
withstanding all he met with, was to the last as ready for his duty, 
when opportunity offered, as ever. When he was near his end, he 
thus expressed himself : ' I am now going where I shall have rest 
from sin and Satan, from all fear, weariness, and watching ; and 
from all the evils and errors of a wicked world ; even so come. Lord 
Jesus, for I long for Thy coming.' And when the pangs of death 
were upon him, he said, 'All the joys of this life are nothing, 
nothing to the joys I have in Jesus Christ.' He died April 13, 
1665. His life was written by Mr R. Moore. Wood gives an 
account of Mr Hall, which on the whole is favourable, and quotes 
from Moore's ' Pearl in an Oyster-shell,' the following passage : — 
' He was a person of great integrity and single-heartedness in his 
ministry ; of a fine and liberal heart ; just, and one that lived much 
by faith ; of a holy and unblameable life ; of a humble deportment ; 
a great lover of peace ; a. plain and profitable preacher,' &c. He 
was buried in the churchyard of King's-Norton. 

" Works : Apologia pro Ministerio Evang : Francof. — The Pulpit 
guarded — the Font guarded — the Schools guarded ; a Defence of 
H. L. — The Beauty of Holiness — A Treatise against long Hair, 
Painting, &c. — Wisdom's Conquest ; a Translation of the 13th 
Book of Ovid's Metam. — Phaeton's Folly ; a Translat. of the 2d 
Book of ditto.— Hometius Enervatus: or a Treatise against the 
Millenaries. — Sal Terras : or a Guard to Ministers, and their 
Maintenance. An Exposition by Way of Supp. on Amos, chap, 
iv.-ix. Samaria's Downfall : a Comment on Hosea xiii. 12, 16. — 
The Beauty of Magistracy : an Expos, of Psalm Ixxxii. — A prac- 
tical and polemical Comment on 2 Tim. iii. & iv. A Treatise 
against May Poles. A Scrip. Disc, of the Apostacy of Antichrist. 
Wood mentions some others, of no great importance." 



VOL. V. 


To the Eiglit Worsliipful Sir Charles Herboard, Knight ; to the 
Worshipful Sir Kichard Franklin, Knight ; John Beresford, 
Esq. ; Edward Ironside, Esq. ; Eichard Beresford, Esq. ; 
and to the Gentlemen, Yeomen, and the rest of the Inhabitants 
of the Parish of Eickmersworth. 

It is the custom of our country, and if I mistake not, a statute law 
of the nation, that children should be kept and maintained by those 
places in which they were born. This book, which treateth of the 
babe of grace, was conceived in your parish, brought forth in your 
pulpit, and now presenteth itself to you, not for your protection 
and patronage, but for your perusal and practice. 

I confess that I am bound to many of you in courtesy, to all in 
duty ; and I know not better how to express my thankfulness to 
some, and my faithfulness to all, than by dealing uprightly with 
you in the concernments of your souls : ' God is my witness, whom 
I (desire to) serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that 
without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,' 
Eom. i. 9 ; and can, through the strength of Christ, much more 
rejoice in one of your conversions, than in all your possessions. Ye 
know what a large epistle I have already written to you ; i I beseech 
you to read it often, and oh that the Lord would write it within 
you ! We live in days that are full of division ; but all that have 
any face of religion, or form of godliness, will acknowledge the 
things which I have written to you to be the commandments of 
God. My chief work is, and hath been, to preach unto you repent- 
ance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ ; which are of 
such infinite weight in order to your unchangeable welfares ; and 
^ To the Reader in Hell and Heaven Epitomised. 


could I prevail with you heartily to embrace those essentials of 
God's word, I should have confidence of your joyful appearance in 
the other world. It is a sign of a very foul stomach, to loathe such 
solid food as those vitals of Christianity are, and to pick at kick- 
shaws or salads, — I mean either the new-fangled opinions of some 
upstart way, or the vain flourishes of human wit. Oh how gladly 
would I stand forth to your comfort at the judgment seat of Christ, 
which that I may, I earnestly request you again and again, in 
obedience to your blessed Saviour, and for the sake of your precious 
souls, to ponder and practise these three particulars. Consider 
that they are not only commended to you by your weak and dying 
minister, but commanded you by your Maker, who will within a 
short time reckon with you for the performance of them. 

First, Make conscience of, and be diligent about, the means of 
grace ; neglect not secret, private, or public ordinances. Your 
bodies may as probably live without diet, as your souls without 
duties. This is God's way, by which he infuseth grace where it is 
wanting, and increaseth grace where it is. As the head by the 
nerves and sinews, as organs, conveyeth animal spirits to the whole 
body, so doth the church's head, Christ Jesus, by ordinances convey 
his Spirit and grace to his members. Doth not experience teach 
you that your hearts are like water ; though heated a little while 
over the fire of the means of grace, yet are no sooner taken off, but 
they are returning to their former coldness. Mariners that swim 
against wind and tide, must row hard and continue at it ; if they 
intermit but a little while, how far and how forcibly are they carried 
backwards ! It is not unknown to you, if ye have any knowledge 
in spiritual affairs, how busily and unweariedly the devil, world 
and flesh, are drawing you to hell ; it highly concerneth you to be 
always, by duties, fetching in supplies from above, if ever ye would 
arrive at heaven. I do not wonder that many in our perilous times, 
who live above duties, are given up to the sensuality of blasphemies. 
The papists say, that if they can get the protestants out of their 
strongholds of Scripture, into the open fields of councils and fathers, 
they could quickly be able to foil them. If Satan can prevail with 
men but to throw away the word of God, which is the sword of the 
Spirit, and the prayer of faith, which engageth Christ himself in 
the combat, he will never doubt the conquest. While men walk 
in the king's highway, between sun and sun, they have the protec- 
tion of the law ; if otherwise, it is at their own peril. If you keep 
the way of God, he will be your guard ; but if you wander and 
leave him, no wonder if he leave you. And certainly woe will be 


to you when God departeth from you. A dreadful night of dark- 
ness must needs be expected when the sun is departed. 

The ministry of the word is called ' the salt of the earth,' Mat. 
V. ; saints are called doves : ' Who are those that fly as doves to 
their windows.' Now the property of doves is to be exceedingly in 
love with a salt stone ; kites and rooks care little for it, but doves 
are mightly incited to it. Graceless persons neglect and despise 
the means of grace ; but they that ever enjoyed God in them, can- 
not but set a due price upon them. The beggar, the poor in spirit, 
will know that door again at which he hath received a good dole : 
' I will never forget thy precepts, for by them thou hast quickened 

Secondly, Mind the religious education of your children. Bring 
them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It was the 
wish of Crates that he were upon the top of the highest hill in the 
world, that from thence he might cry out against monstrous parents, 
that toil to leave their children great estates, but take no care what 
manner of persons they should be which should enjoy those estates. 
I doubt not but ye are careful to breed your sons gentlemen, or to 
bring them up to trades, that they may know how to live a few 
days in the world ; but, alas ! how few of you are solicitous to breed 
them new creatures, and to bring them up to Christianity, that 
they may know how to live for ever in the other world ! I remem- 
ber that Augustine speaks mournfully : Some praise my father for 
being at such cost, even beyond his estate, in my nurture ; but, alas ! 
his care was to make me an orator, not to make me a Christian. I 
am confident many a child bemoans that, now he is damned in hell, 
which the father did when he was conversant on earth. I cannot 
condemn the education of children, according to the quality of their 
parents, nor their bringing up to particular callings ; this latter I 
am sure is a duty, but that which is first should be last, and that 
which is last should be first. Your greatest care, and that in the 
first place, should be to seek the kingdom of God for yourselves 
and children, and then other things shall be added to you. Caleb 
gave his daughter the upper and the nether springs. Oh labour 
that yours may, with Jacob, have the dews of heaven, as well as the 
fatness of the earth. 

Elisha wept when he saw Hazael, 2 Kings viii. 12, 13, and fore- 
saw that he would slay young men, and dash the children against the 
wall ; do not some of you give far greater occasion of weeping, if 
possible tears of blood, in slaying and murdering the souls of your 
dear children, teaching them, by your patterns, to live like heathens 


and atheists. Believe it, God committeth the charge of, and will 
account with you for, all the souls in your families. When Cain 
had slain his brother Abel, Grod called to him, ' Where is thy 
brother Abel ? And Cain said, I know not : Am I my brother s 
keeper ? And the Lord said, What hast thou done ? the voice of 
thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now 
thou art cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to 
receive thy brother's blood at thine hand,' Gen. iv. 9-11. So sup- 
pose God should whisper one of you in the ear. Cruel father, careless 
master, where is thy child or servant, that died so many months 
or years ago ? You may possibly think what Cain spake. Lord, I 
know not, whether in heaven or hell ; was I their keeper ? Oh 
think of it with speed, and reform ! May not God reply very truly, 
Cursed sinner, vile wretch, what hast thou done ? the voice of thy 
child, of thy servant's, soul-blood crieth to me from hell. And now 
thou art cursed from hell, which hath opened her mouth to receive 
thy son's, thy servant's, soul at thy hand. Friends, friends, what 
will you do, when God shall thus deal with you for your neglect of 
relative duties ? Possibly ye may think I deal too sharply ; but 
truly the reason is because I know that sin will not deal mildly, 
either with you or yours. And should I not give you warning, the 
blood of your own and children's souls would be required at my 
hands. 1 Good Lord, that ye did but believe what it is to be guilty 
of others' blood ! Heathens and infidels provide for the body and 
temporal well-being of their children, and what do many of you 
more ? Bears that bring forth misshapen whelps, will, by licking 
them, bring them to a better form. Your children are brought 
forth enemies to God, and are by nature children of wrath, and 
heirs of eternal death ; doth it not behove you to strive that, by 
religious nurture, they may become children of the promise, and 
heirs of eternal life. 

Thirdly, Make sure of regeneration ; be never satisfied till ye 
can, upon Scripture grounds, affirm that your natures are regener- 
ated. This, this is the one thing necessary. Your all hangs upon 
this hinge. If this be not done, ye are undone, undone eternally. 
All your profession, civility, privileges, gifts, duties, are ciphers, 
and signify nothing unless regeneration be the figure put before 
them. It is regeneration that will make you the sons of God, the 
members of Christ, the temples of the Spirit, that will give you a 
holy improvement of all providences, a right to all the promises, 

^ Holy Greenham saith, that many men's children shall follow them up and down 
in hell, cursing them and crying out on them for neglecting to instruct them. 


and at last the purchased possession. It is regeneration that will 
teach you to live like men, like Christians, like angels, in the love 
and fruition of the infinitely blessed God. Oh the price of this pearl 
is not known in this beggarly world ! 

A grave and wise counsellor of France, being desirous in his old 
age to retire himself, was entreated by the king to write down some 
directions, and leave %vith him, for the more prosperous government 
of his realm. The counsellor took some paper, and wrote on the 
top, moderation ; in the middle, moderation ; at the bottom, moder- 
ation. Demosthenes being asked what was the chief thing in an 
orator, answered, elocution ; and being demanded the same question 
three times, what made an orator, he still gave the same answer. 
Augugtine being demanded what was the greatest requisite of a 
Christian, what was the first, second, and third, still answered, 
humility, humility, humility.i Truly what the counsellor said of 
moderation, the Grecian of elocution, and the father of humility, 
I shall say of regeneration. If you ask me what is the chiefest 
thing in the world for a man to mind ; what is that which is 
worthy of all his time, and strength, and thoughts, and words, and 
actions? I answer, regeneration. If you demand what is that 
which is of greatest necessity and excellency, that bringeth in the 
greatest jjrofit, delight, and happiness ? I answer, regeneration. 
He that hath this, hath all that is worth having ; the having of this 
is heaven. He that wanteth this hath nothing ; the whole world 
cannot make up the want of this ; the want of this is hell. sirs, 
your everlasting making or marring dependeth upon your sincerity 
or hypocrisy in this ! Of what infinite consequence is it therefore 
to you, in whatsoever ye come short, to make sure here ! Alas ! 
when ye come to throw your last cast for eternity, how will the 
stoutest of you do to look death in the face, without regeneration 
in your hearts ! God hath, in a hundred texts of Scripture, devoted 
all unregenerate ones to the unquenchable fire ; and can any of you 
think to make him a liar? Believe it, as soon as death landeth you 
at the other world, you will have other thoughts of God and his 
truths than now ye have. 

For your help in this work, which is of such absolute indis- 
pensable necessity unto your never-dying souls, I commend to you 
this treatise, beseeching the blessed God to make it serviceable unto 
your salvations. Ignatius, when he heard a clock strike, would say, 
I have one hour more to answer for. I must tell you that ye have 
eighteen hours, eighteen sermons more to answer for. When they 

^ Aug. Epist. 56, ad Diosc. 


were preached, they had from some of you a favourable attention ; 
now they are printed — it is not unknown what providence brought 
them to the press — I wish they may have within you an effectual 
operation, that both the author and his labours may appear to your 
joy at that great and terrible day. 

These things being finished, ' I commend you to God, and to the 
word of his grace, which is able to (bring you home, who are out of 
Christ, and to) build you up (who are in Christ), and to give you 
an inheritance among them which are sanctified,' Acts xx. 32. — 
And subscribe myself, your servant for Jesus' sake, 

George Swinnock. 

Jan. 20, ] 659. 


Christian Eeader, — As there are two things which commend 
a place, the fruitfulness of the soil, and the pleasantness of the situ- 
ation — the one suiting the necessities, and the other the comforts 
of life ; so there are two things which commend a book — the worthi- 
ness of the matter therein handled, and the skilfulness of the hand 
that contrived it. Upon both accounts this gracious treatise justly 
deserveth with good men acceptation and value ; the matter there- 
of, viz., the doctrine of regeneration, being of most absolute neces- 
sity to the being of a Christian ; and the manner of handling it 
being so quick and elegant, as cannot but convince the judgment, 
and gratify the palate, of the most serious reader ; it being like 
the land of Canaan, full of milk and honey, a sweetness which doth 
both nourish and cleanse. And as once David did consecrate the 
spoils of the Gentiles to the building of the temple, so hath the 
author adorned this his spiritual treatise with a sanctified applica- 
tion of many pertinent histories in human authors, to the attemper- 
ing thereof the better unto the most delicate minds. 

I shall not detain the reader by any discourse on regeneration, 
the nature and necessity whereof I find so fully handled in this 
book, but shall commend the perusal thereof unto all sorts of 
readers ; it being so written as may, by God's blessing, be very 
likely to convince and convert those who are strangers to regenera- 
tion, if they will bring but self-love to the reading of it, and as 
may fill the mouths and hearts of those who are partakers of so 
great a benefit with praises unto God, their heavenly Father by 
gracious adoption, and unto the Lord Christ, their second Adam, 
and spiritual Father by powerful regeneration, to whose blessing I 
commend the work, the author, and the reader, 

Ed. Eeynolds. 

January 31, 1659. 


Eeader, — In how happy a time dost thou live, when God send- 
eth so many and so powerful messengers, to call thee from the 
ways of sin and death ! And how miserable and unexcusable wilt 
thou prove, if thou be after all this a stranger to the life of faith, 
of holiness ! If nature had made thee a spiritual person, a child 
of God, and an heir of heaven, this doctrine of regeneration might 
then be received as strangely as it was by Nicodemus, and as ne- 
glectfully as it is by careless worldlings, and as disdainfully as it is 
by unbelieving and malignant enemies of the Holy Ghost. But 
sooner may you hope to find a new way into the world or a state of 
nature, besides the way of human birth, than to find another way 
into the state of grace, and the kingdom of lieaven, besides the new 
birth, by the Spirit. Nature proclaimeth its own vitiosity to every 
diligent observer. He that is so carnal as not to observe it, in the 
crossness and rebellion of his soul against God, and the world's 
captivity to self and flesh, one would think should yet be so rational 
as to observe it, in the confusion and inordinate behaviour of men 
to one another ; while self is exalted against the good of friends 
and neighbours, yea, and against the common good, and that so 
incurably, as the wars and calamities of the nations do signify : 
' From whence comes wars and fightings among men ? come they 
not hence, even of their lusts that Avar against their members ? ' 
James iv. 1. But the corrupted soul is so conformed to the world's 
corrupted state, that it is no wonder if he perceive no need of a 
restorei*, and so be in the heart an infidel upon that account ; as a 
man born blind may think the world hath no great need of the 
sun, because his eyes are so conform to a state of darkness, that the 
night seemeth to him as good as the day. As all the creatures 
which we daily see condemn the atheist that denieth their Creator, 
so all the spots and blemishes of the creatures, especially the uni- 
versal pravity of mankind, condemneth the infidel, that, seeing not 
original sin and misery, denieth the necessity of a Kedeemer ; and 
the holiness of renewed souls about him doth further condemn him 


that doth not acknowledge the sanctifier, who is the cause. The 
reparation of vitiated nature is a mysterious but glorious work of 
God, which angels desire to pry into, and all the regenerate rejoice 
in and admire, as having themselves been made partakers of so 
sweet and excellent a share. The kingdom of darkness is a con- 
federacy of wicked angels and men, that are all ruled by one mali- 
cious principal governor. Mat. xii. 24-30, and xxv, 41, &c., whose 
work is to mar the work of God, that nature may not attain its 
primitive and proper end. And the kingdom of Christ is the holy 
society, headed by him that hath made it his undertaken work to 
be the repairer of depraved nature, and to destroy the works of the 
devil, and to remove impediments, and conquer opposition, and 
carry on his healing work, that nature may yet attain its ends, in 
despite of sin, and death, and hell. 

As ever you would not be guilty of contemning this wonderful 
work, nature's reparation, elevation, and perfection, see now that 
you overlook not the great necessity of it in yourselves, where one 
would think, as it doth most nearly concern you, so it should be 
most easy to you to perceive it. No part of nature is so deplorably 
vitiated as the soul of man, except the devil's. This was thy case 
that readest these words, as well as mine and all men's else ; and 
if thou art not restored by renewing grace, it is thy case still ; it is 
Satan's business to keep thee from observing it, lest the knowledge 
of thy misery should waken thee to accept and mind the cure. If 
he can make thee forget it, or deceive thee by flatterers, and by a 
seeming formal outside religiousness, and quiet thee in thy misery, 
till there be no remedy, but time is past, and mercy gone, then 
is he the conqueror, and hath the prey he aimed at, and thou art 
lost for ever. 

Thy salvation or damnation lieth on thy escaping this deceit, 
and the presumption, security, and impenitency, that are its conse- 
quents. For this end thou hast the plain directions of God's w^ord, 
the frequent warnings, the close convictions, the fervent exhorta- 
tions of his ministers. ]f the Spirit set in, and these prevail, and 
thou give up thyself unreservedly to the Lord, thou art a happy 
man, and hast received the beginning of life eternal. Regeneration 
must give thee a new nature, suitable to the heavenly doctrines and 
duties propounded in the holy Scriptures, or else they will seem 
strange and toilsome things, and thou wilt savour them no more 
than thy food when thou art sick. Till thou art regenerate, and 
hast a new heart and spirit, thou wilt still disrelish those saving 
truths that call thee higher, and put thee upon self-denial and a 


holy life, especially when they are closely applied to thee for these 
ends. Thou wilt disrelish all spiritual prayers and conference, 
especially when they discover and condemn thy unsanctified carnal 
state ; and thou wilt secretly or openly have a malignant distaste 
or opposition against the regenerate, that live by that renewing 
sanctifying Spirit to which thou art a stranger, and wilt look on 
them as a people that condemn thee by their lives, unless thou 
canst cheat thyself into a persuasion that they are but a company 
of singular, proud, self-conceited people, and really no otherwise 
regenerate than thyself. And all the religion, and wisdom, and 
good carriage which thou hast, without this spiritual change, may 
easily be thy delusion, but will never serve for thy salvation ; yea, 
heaven itself would be to thee no heaven if it were set open to thee, 
and thou hadst not the heavenly nature to suit to the heavenly 
employment and felicity. This is the business of a converting and 
confirming ministry, and of the Spirit and grace that works by 
them ; and this is the business that above other businesses lieth 
upon thee in this present world, even to work now in thy soul that 
holy love to the most blessed God, who is love itself, which may 
cause thee here to thirst after his presence, and to seek his favour, 
and to do his will, and may fit thee delightfully for ever to enjoy 
him, and everlastingly to be solaced in the beholding of his glory, 
in the feeling of his love, and in his heavenly praises and the ful- 
filling of his will. An unregenerate, unholy soul is as unfit for 
this as thy mortal enemy to lie in thy bosom, or as toads and ser- 
pents to be the familiar companions of men, or as the ox or ass is 
to feed with thee at thy table, and lie with thee in thy bed. 
Employments and enjoyments must have a suitable nature ; if the 
Spirit fit thee not here for heaven, in this life which is given thee 
purposely for that end, it is pernicious folly to hope for a heaven 
for which thy unsanctified nature is unfit, and to promise thyself a 
felicity of which thou art incapable, and which indeed thy very 
heart doth hate. Thou lovest not holiness here, nor the very im- 
perfect saints that have it, how much less couldst thou love the 
infinite holiness of God, who hateth thy sins ten thousand times 
more than the most severe and sharp reprover hates them ? If thy 
eyes cannot look upon the smallest candle without offence, how 
then would they endure to look upon the sun, and that in the 
nearest access unto its glory ? And if here thy enmity to the holy 
will of God be such that thou pleasest not him, and he and his 
ways are displeasing unto thee, how incapable art thou of heaven, 
which is a state of mutual full delight, where the saints do perfectly 


please the Lord, and are perfectly pleased in him and his pleasure : 
Kom. viii. 5-8, ' They that are after the flesh do mind (or savour) 
the things of the flesh ; but they that are after the Spirit the things 
of the Spirit. To be carnally minded is death ; but to be spiritually 
minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity 
against God : for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed 
can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.' 
And ' that which is born of the flesh is (but) flesh ; as that which 
is born of the Spirit is spirit,' John iii. 6. It is therefore undeni- 
able that till you are born of the Spirit, and so made spiritual, all 
your religion and civility leaveth you but enemies to God, and iu 
a state of rebellion against his will, and consequently in a state of 
death. Baptism, which is the sacrament of regeneration, doth 
signify this change, and contain your profession and engagement 
to the Lord. But if you have not the regeneration of the Spirit as 
well as of the water, and the answer of a good conscience as well 
as the washing of the flesh, you differ from heathens and infidels 
but as covenant-breakers differ from them that never entered into 
covenant with Christ at all. 

But I must not stand too long instructing you at the door, when 
my business is to call you in, and to tell you that here is a message 
to you from the Lord ; a treatise of regeneration, the most neces- 
sary subject, in a style so clean and close, in words so pertinent, 
plain, powerful, and pressing, that undoubtedly by a serious, impar- 
tial perusal, joined with sober consideration and prayer, thy soul 
may receive unspeakable commodity. Though I know not the 
author, I am so far acquainted with the spirit appearing in this 
discourse, that I dare assure thee he had very much help from 
heaven, and dare encourage thee to study this savoury treatise, as 
that which containeth most certain, sound, and necessary doctrine, 
directly tending to the saving of thy soul, without any tendency to 
heresy, schism, or uncharitable censoriousness ; a doctrine necessary 
for the learned or unlearned, the rich and the poor, the honourable 
and the base, and for men of all degrees and ranks ; which, if it had 
been more heartily studied and inculcated in public and in private 
by all preachers of the gospel, instead of the human inventions, 
canons, opinions, and interests of their several sects, the church 
and the consciences of the pastors and their flocks had been now 
much wlioler and sounder than they are. Believe it, whatever 
thou art, thou shalt never be saved for being a lord, or a knight, or 
a gentleman, or a rich man, or a learned man, or a well-spoken 
eloquent man, nor yet for being a Calvinist, or a Lutheran, an 


Arminian, an Anabaptist, a Prelatist, a Presbyterian, an Indepen- 
dent, or protestant, formally and merely as such, much less for 
being a papist, or of any such grossly deluded sect, but as a 
regenerate Christian it is that thou must be saved, or thou canst 
have no hope. If once this renewing Spirit have taken possession 
of thy soul, and thou art made partaker of the divine and heavenly 
nature, and art become a living member of Christ, thou shalt be 
saved, though thou know not whether diocesan bishops, metro- 
politans, primates, and patriarchs, or only parochial bishops, be 
most agreeable to the mind of God ; and though thou know not 
whether any other book than the Bible should contain the liturgy 
of the church, and though thou know not in a hundred contro- 
versies of the times, about orders, and forms, and ceremonies, and 
smaller points of doctrine, which party it is that is in the right. 
Holiness will save thee without the formalities of this party or of 
that, but formalities will not save thee without holiness. 

To you that are regenerate I shall say but this, keep very honour- 
able and thankful thoughts of your spiritual birth ; live now as the 
sons of the eternal God, and as the heirs of everlasting life ; set 
your faces now towards heaven, as those that see the grave at hand, 
and the vanities of this world all vanishing into smoke, and as 
those that are resolved to have heaven or nothing. Away with the 
sins, the baits and company, that formerly were your desire and de- 
light. And seeing even the first hour of your conversion there is joy 
in heaven before the angels for your sakes, for shame walk not in too 
much dejectedness and despondency, but keep a harmony and con- 
sent with heaven, seeing you are so highly concerned in the matter 
of their joy. And pray still to the Lord of the harvest that he will 
mind the forsaken nations of the earth, and continue his kindness 
to this unworthy island, in sending forth more such labourers into 
his harvest as this reverend author is here manifest by his works to 
be ; and that he will double his Spirit on the messengers of grace, 
that with faith they may speak the words of faith, and with life 
may speak the words of life, and that the immortal seed which is 
sown by their hand may bring forth many sons to God, and spring 
up plenteously unto eternal life. And among others remember 
him than whom scarce any is more obliged to be thankful for the 
prayers of the saints, even the most unworthy servant of the Lord 
among them that have found mercy to be faithful, 

KiCHARD Baxter. 

January 31, 1659. 


Jesus ansiuey^ed and said unto Mm, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, 
Except 'a man he horn again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 
— John iii. 3. 


The opening of the ivords, and the doctrine. 

As Isaiah is called the evangelical prophet, because he doth so 
lively describe and foretel the death of Christ, so John may not 
unfitly be called the prophetical evangelist ; for though in his 
Epistles he shews himself an apostle, in his Gospel an evangelist, 
yet in his Revelation he is a prophet. The ancients do aptly 
ascribe the eagle to him for his ensign ; because when the other 
evangelists begin with the Mediator's incarnation and humanity, 
proving him to be the Son of man, he doth at first fly out of sigkt, 
and beginneth with the Saviour's deity, proving him to be the Son 
of God. And his whole Gospel indeed is a demonstration of 
Christ's divinity, which was occasioned, as ecclesiastical historians 
record, by the heresy of Ebion and Cerinthus, who denied it. 

In this third chapter we have, first, Christ teaching Nicodemus, 
to ver. 21. 

Secondly, John's testimony concerning Christ, to the end. 

The text is Christ's speech to Nicodemus. Nicodemus had seen 
Christ's miracles, and thereby was convinced to come unto him • 
Christ lets him hear his oracles, that thereby he might be con- 
verted and come in to him. Nicodemus, in the second verse, had 
called Christ Rabbi, and confessed him to be a teacher sent from 


God ; Christ, in pursuance of that office, sets him his lesson, assur- 
ing him that he must learn it in the school of earth, or he can 
never he removed to the university of heaven. 

In the words we observe two general parts. 

First, An affirmation, or the necessity of regeneration : ' Except 
a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' 

Secondly, Its confirmation, or the certainty of that assertion : 
* Verily, verily, I say unto thee.' 

In the affirmation we may take notice of two particulars : 

1. The universality of the persons : * A man,' that is, every man ; 
the proposition is indefinite, and so equivalent to one that is uni- 

2. The quality of the thing affirmed: ' Be born again ;' mend- 
ing will not serve, the whole man must be new made ; non unius 
pai'tis correctionem, sed totius tiaturce renovationem designate saith 
Calvin ; It speaks not the reparation of one part, but the renovation 
of the whole man. 

In the confirmation of it there are likewise two things con- 
siderable : 

1. The manner of the expression : ' Verily, verily.' 

2. The author of it : 'I say unto thee.' 
The meaning of the words. 

' Verily, verily ;' i that is, amen, faithfully, truly ; the word cometh 
from the Hebrew amen, which signifieth true, faithful. It is 
used by the people as a ratification of their prayers, and testimony 
of their desires to be heard, Jer. xi. 5 ; 1 Cor. xiv. 16. And when 
it is doubled, as here by the great prophet, it is a vehement asseve- 
ration, or strong confirmation of the thing asserted. As if Christ 
had said, Nicodemus, thou mayest believe me, for truly, assuredly 
it* is so ; except thou art a new creature, thou canst never enter 
into the new Jerusalem. All God's sayings are of equal truth ; 
but to some there is affixed a special note of certainty, because of 
their extraordinary weight, and man's infidelity. Private soldiers 
may go with a common pass, but generals and commanders-in- 
chief have trumpets sounding before them. Verily, verily. All 
orders and warrants of kings have not their seals annexed, but 
those that be of greatest weight. 

' I say unto thee.' 2 I who am the prophet of my church, the 
teacher sent from God, the true and faithful witness, ' for whom it 

^ 'AfiT)v, dfjLTjv, idem est quod a\rj6ios, compara Mark xiii. 43, eum Luke xxi. 3 j 
and Luke ix. 27, cum Mark xvi. 18, aud Mar-k ix. 1. 
* .X^7w cot. 

Chap. I.J by the key of regeneration. 17 

is impossible to lie,' I deliver thee this doctrine as a certain unques- 
tionable truth, that unless thou hast a new being, it had been better 
for thee to have had no being, for thou canst never see the king- 
dom of God. 

' Except a man.'i Let him pretend never so much, let his per- 
formances be never so many, let liis privileges be never so great, 
and his profession never so glorious, yet if he be not born again, 
all these will do him little good, for he can never see the kingdom 
of God. The assertion, as I hinted before, is general ; as every man 
is born of the flesh, so every man must be born of the Spirit, or it 
had been happy for them if they had never been born. 

' Be born again,' 2 That is, be renewed, and turned by the Holy 
Ghost from nature to grace, ' from darkness to light, from the 
power of Satan to God,' Acts xvi. 18. Except a man be inwardly 
and really altered from what he was, except he becomes a new 
creature : ' Put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the 
deceitful lusts ; and put on the new man, which after God is 
created in righteousness and true holiness,' Eph. iv. 22-24. Ex- 
cept he be turned upside down, and walk antipodes to his former 
way ; except the stream of his heart and life run in another channel, 
carry him towards another haven, he can never arrive at heaven ; 
except the image of the devil be razed out and defaced, and the 
image of God be imprinted on him, he can never be saved ; except 
he be thoroughly and universally changed ; his understanding by 
illumination, his will by renovation, his affections by sanctification, 
and his life by reformation, he can never obtain salvation. 

' He cannot see.' ^ That is, enjoy ; he cannot have his portion in 
it, or ever attain the enjoyment of it. Videre estfrui. Vision in 
Scripture is frequently put for fruition : ^ as Ps. xxvii. 13 ; Heb. xii. 
4 ; Isa. iii. 1 ; Ps. xxxiv. 12 ; Mat. v. 8. 

' The kingdom of God.' 5 God's kingdom is twofold : 

1. The kingdom of grace here, Eom. xiv. 17. ' The kingdom of 
God is not meat and drink ; but righteousness, peace, and joy in 
the Holy Ghost,' Mat. vi. 33. 

2. The kingdom of glory hereafter, 1 Thes. ii. 12. Now except 
a man be born again, he can have no right to the privileges of 
the kingdom of grace, nor to the possession of the kingdom of 

The text being thus briefly explained, I shall glean some few 

^ iav fXTj Tis. * yepvrj6?j dviodev. 

' ov hvvarai. ISe'f. * Drus. aiiimad. lib. ii. cap. 8. 

^ TTji/ ^aaCKclav rod 6€od. 
VOL. V. B 


ears by the way, before I come to the full sheaf, which will afford, 
through the blessing of God, much spiritual food to our souls. 

1. Ohs. That Christ is very willing to instruct them that come to 
him, notwithstanding their many weaknesses. 

Nicodemus was short in his confession of Christ, and faulty in 
his coming to him only by night ; yet the meek Master overlooketh 
this, and presently falls upon teaching his outward scholar. The 
tender father doth not turn his weak child out of doors, but lends 
him his helping hand, whereby he might be enabled to go. As 
when a soul is in him, he doth not refuse its gold because it wanteth 
some grains, nor its honey though it be mingled with wax, Cant. 
V. 1 ; so when a soul is in the way to him, he doth not reject it for 
its imperfections, nor twit it with its corruptions, as those flies that 
love to feed on sores ; but as the loving parent beholdeth the pro- 
digal while he is afar off, runneth more than half way to meet him, 
and as the true turtle chirpeth sweetly, that he may cluck sinners 
nearer to himself. 

2. Ohs. A man may be a noble, knowing person, and yet ignorant 
of, and a stranger to, regeneration. 

Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews, either one of the Sanhedrim, 
or great council, or one of the rulers of their synagogue ; one that 
taught others, and yet was himself untaught in this rudiment, this 
A B C of Christianity. How childishly doth he talk of this 
weighty truth ! Ver. 4, ' How can a man be born when he is old ? 
can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born ? 
How deep may a man dive into the mysteries of nature, how sharp- 
sighted may he be there, and yet as blind as a mole in the things 
of grace ! Nature may in some men be dunged with industry, 
art, education, and example, and thereby show fair, spread far, and 
overtop others, but yet manured to the utmost, it is but nature still : 
its grapes will be the grapes of Sodom, and its clusters the clusters 
of Gomorrah. The natural man, like Zaccheus, is too low of stature 
to see Jesus, ' he discerneth not the things of God : neither indeed 
can he, for they are spiritually discerned,' 1 Cor. ii. 14. The wisest 
philosophers, that could cunningly pick the lock of nature's cabinet, 
and behold much of her riches and treasure, were mere idiots and 
fools in the things of the Spirit, and understood no more of these 
mysteries of divinity than a cowherd doth of the darkest pre- 
cepts of astronomy. AVater riseth no higher than its fountain ; the 
light within us, or nature, is but a rush candle, and cannot enable 
us to see the Sun of righteousness ; the light without us, or scripture, 
is the star to the wise men, leading us to the place where the babe 

Chap, I.] by the key of regeneration. 19 

of Bethlehem lieth. As the eye without the optic virtue is but a 
dead member, so all human wisdom without divine inspiration is 
but learned folly and elaborate wickedness. 

3. Ohs. That regeneration is one principal thing which pastors 
ought to instruct their people in. 

Jesus Christ, though the wind of Nicodemus' words, ver. 2, 
seemed to blow towards some other coast, yet he waives all other 
discourse, and speaks directly and home to this, as the one doctrine 
necessary for his unregenerate disciple to learn. Kegeneration and 
salvation by Christ are the two substantial dishes which the faith- 
ful stewards of Cod set constantly before the families committed to 
their charges. Those that preach notions instead of such doctrines 
do cursedly cozen their guests with flowers instead of meat, which 
may fill the eye of the wanton, but not the heart of the hungry 
soul. Oh what a blessed pattern have we here for our practice, 
when our parishioners come to us, or we go to them ! what more 
weighty subject can we treat of than their conversion ! without 
which they must be punished with everlasting destruction. Alas, 
how boundless and endless is that wrath to which they are liable, 
though their hearts are insensible ! therefore though their mouths 
do not call, yet their misery doth cry aloud to us to instruct them 
in regeneration, as ever we desire they should escape damnation. 

But the doctrine which I principally intend is this : 

Doct. That without regeneration men and women can never ob- 
tain salvation. 

' Verily, verily, I say unto thee. Except a man be born again, he 
cannot see the kingdom of Cod.' He or she that is not experi- 
mentally acquainted with the second birth cannot possibly escape 
the second death, ' Make you a new heart, and a new spirit : for 
why will ye die, house of Israel,' Ezek. xviii. 31. The old heart 
will unquestionably carry thee to hell — the place of the old serpent. 
He must have a new spirit that will go to the new Jerusalem, 
' Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not 
enter into the kingdom of Cod,' Mat. xviii. 2. There must be a 
change from nature to grace, before there can be a change from 
grace to glory. Heaven is the father's house, John xiv. 2, provided 
for none but his children, such as are born of him. A man must be 
taken out of the wilderness of nature, and planted in Eden, the 
garden of the Lord, before he can be transplanted into the true 



The description or nature of regeneration in the several causes of it. 

For the illustration, of this truth, I shall shew, first, what the re- 
generation or new birth is ; and then give you the reasons why none 
can avoid the second death, unless they are acquainted with the 
second birth. 

For the first, Kegeneration is a work of Grod's Spirit, whereby he 
doth, out of his mere good pleasure, for his own glory and the sal- 
vation of his elect, at first renew tlie whole man after his own image 
by the ministry of the word. I shall explain this definition by 
taking it in pieces, and observing in it the several causes of re- 
generation. When arras hangings are opened and unfolded, their 
richness will appear. 

First, I call it a Avork of God's Spirit ; here is the efficient prin- 
cipal cause of it. The babe of grace in this respect calleth none on 
earth father. It is by the Spirit overshadowing the soul that this 
new creature is conceived and brought forth ; godliness is not natural, 
but adventitious to man ; not by propagation, but by donation. 
Man cannot generate himself naturally, much less regenerate him- 
self spiritually ; they which are born of the flesh contribute nothing 
to their own beings, neither do they which are born of the Spirit 
bring anything to their new beings, unless it be a passive receptive- 
ness, as they are reasonable creatures. Some read the text, and not 
unfitly, for the original will fully bear it, ' Except a man be born 
(avwOev, i.e, ovpavoOev) from above,' or from heaven ; and therefore in 
the fifth verse of this third chap, of John, Christ telleth us, ' Except 
a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of 
God ;' and in Titus iii. 5, it is called a ' renewing of the Holy Ghost ;' 
so in 1 John iv. 12, 13 ; Jer. xxxi. 18, 19 ; 2 Cor. iii. 5 ; 1 Peter i. 
1, 2, 3 ; Eph. ii. 10 ; 1 Peter ii. 9, 10. 

This work is sometimes called a transplanting out of the natural 
wild olive tree, and ingraffing it, contrary to nature, into a true good 
olive tree ; Kom, xi. 24, out of the.first into the second Adam ; now 
the scion cannot transplant or ingraff itself. It is termed a new 
creation, 2 Cor. v. 17. To create or bring something out of no- 
thing is beyond the power of the strongest creature ; it is above the 
strength of all men and angels to create the least pile of grass ; God 
challengeth this as his prerogative royal, Isa. xl. 26. As the old 
heaven and earth were the work of his hands. Gen. i. 1, so are the 

Chap. II. ] by the key of regeneration. 21 

new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, Isa. 
Ixv. 17. Austin truly said, To convert the little world, man, is 
more than to create the great world. It is further styled a re- 
surrection from the dead, Eph. v. 14, and ii. 5. It is a great 
work to recover a dying body, a far greater to restore one that is 
dead to life ; but the greatest of all to enliven a dead soul ; in the 
former there is no opposition, in this there is much. In spite of 
man and devils, to put down the ugly rotten frame of sin, and set 
up the lovely lasting fabric of sanctity, requireth no less strength 
than omnipotency. The Almighty God putteth forth the exceed- 
ing greatness of his power in forming the new creature, Eph. i. 10-20. 
Nay, the same power which he did in raising Jesus Christ from the 
dead, who had, beside the watch of Romans, and the malice of hell, 
such a heavy weight as the sins of the world to keep him down. 

Eepentance and faith are the two chief ingredients in this rare 
composition, and neither of them are such drugs as grow in nature's 
garden ; no, they are fetched from far : It is God that giveth to the 
Gentiles repentance unto life, Acts xi, 18 ; 2 Tim. ii. 25. The 
stones will as soon weep as man's heart of stone, unless he that 
smote the rock force water out of it, by turning it into a heart of 
flesh. For faith also, it is the gift of God, Eph. ii. 8 ; Phil. i. 29. 
' None come to the Son, but such as are drawn by the Father,' John 
vi. 44. He alone that caused iron to swim, 2 Kings vi. 6, can 
keep the humbled sinner, that is pressed down with the burden of 
innumerable iniquities, from sinking in the gulf of desperation. 

To part a man from his dearest carnal self, and to make him 
diligently seek the destruction of what before he sought the preser- 
vation ; to make him cut off his riglit hand, and pluck out his 
right eye, hate father, mother, wife, child, name, house, land ; 
undo all he had done, go backward every step he had gone ; see 
things with a new light, understand things with another heart, and 
in the whole course of his life to swim against the stream and tide 
of nature, and winds of example ; to bring a soul to this, I say, 
(which is all done and much more in conversion,) requireth the in- 
finite God's operation : flesh and blood can neither reveal these 
things to a man, nor work these things in a man, but the Father 
which is in heaven. 

The minister, like the prophet's servant, may lay his staff on the 
dead child, but he cannot raise it to life till the Master cometh : i 
' Paul may plant, and Apollos water, but God only can give the 
increase,' 1 Cor. iii. 6. ' Without him we can do nothing,' John 

^ Instrumentum non movet nisi movetur. 


XV. 5. We may preacli out our hearts, unless God affords his help, 
our people will never be holy. As Protogenes, when he saw a pic- 
ture in a shop curiously drawn, cried out. None but Apelles could 
do this : so when thou seest the beautiful image of the blessed God 
lively portrayed on the soul, thou maj^est say, This is the finger 
of God : none but a God could do this. 

Secondly, I say, ' Whereby God out of his mere good pleasure,' 
here is the impulsive or moving cause of regeneration ; ' of his own 
will begat he us again by the word of truth,' James i. 18. God's good- 
will is the highest moving cause of this gracious work ; it was not 
any foresight of faith or good works, not anything without him that 
turned the scale of his thoughts for thy purity and peace, but only 
his own good pleasure and pity, Ezek. xxxvi. 21, 22 ; therefore he 
is said to ' give a new heart/ ver. 26, 27, because he bestoweth it 
freely, not for man's merit, but for his own mercy : the gift of grace 
is merely of grace ; ' For we ourselves,' saith the apostle, ' were 
sometimes disobedient, foolish, serving divers lusts and pleasures ; 
but after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards 
man appeared ; not by works of righteousness which we have done, 
but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regener- 
ation, and renewing of the Holy Ghost,' Titus iii. 3-5 ; so Eph. ii. 
1-6. If you would know the grand reason why some are taken 
by the net of the word, let down in the sea of the world, when 
others are left ; why some like wax are melted before this fire of 
Scripture, when others like clay are hardened ; why some have the 
light side of this glorious pillar towards them, when others have 
the dark side of it ; why the same path of the Eed Sea is salvation 
to some, when it is destruction to others ; why the ' mysteries of 
the kingdom of heaven are revealed to babes, when they are hid 
from the wise and prudent : ' I must give you the same reason 
which Christ himself doth, ' Even so. Father, because it seemeth 
good in thy sight,' Mat xi. 27 ; his will and mercy are the causes 
of all our felicity, Kom. ix. 18 ; 1 Pet. i. 3 ; Deut. vii. 7, 8. Grace 
chooseth thee, Eom. xi. 5. ' There is a remnant according to the 
election of grace/ so Eph. i. 5. Grace calleth, 2 Tim. i. 9 ; ' Who 
hath called us according to his purpose and grace, which was given 
us in Christ Jesus before the world began,' so Gal. i. 15. Grace dis- 
tinguisheth and differenceth thee from others ; * By the grace of 
God I am what I am,' 1 Cor. xv. 10. Grace justifieth, Rom. iii. 
24, ' Being justified freely by his grace.' Grace glorifieth, Eph. ii. 
8, ' For by grace are ye saved.' Grace doth lay both the founda- 
tion and the topstone of glory : that deserveth the thanks and praise 

Chap, II.] by the key of regeneration. 23 

of our beginuing, progress, and perfection in holiness. Every step 
in our ascent to Mount Sion is freestone ; every link, as one observ- 
eth well, in the golden chain of man's salvation, is richly enamelled 
with free grace. Oh how lively doth this lovely attribute play its 
part from first to last in the recovery of lost man ! 

Thirdly, here is the instrumental cause. I say, ' by the ministry 
of the word.' ' Of his own will begat he us again by the word of 
truth,' James i. 18. Scripture is the ordinary means of conver- 
sion ; ' The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation,' 
Kom. i. 16. God indeed is a free agent, working when, in what 
manner, and by what means he pleaseth ; though he tieth us to 
means, he doth not tie himself to means ; he doth sometimes make 
relations the instruments of regeneration ; some by being matched 
to Christians, have been married to Christ ; some matches which 
have begun in the flesh have ended in the Spirit ; therefore the 
apostle telleth the believing wife, ' she knoweth not but she may 
save her husband ; and the believing husband, he knoweth not but 
he may save his wife,' 1 Cor. vii. 16 ; 1 Pet. iii. 1. God hath 
made pious education effectual for children's conversion : the morn- 
ings draught of wholesome instruction hath preserved many young 
ones from infection by, and perdition with others, 2 Tim. iii. 15 ; 
Prov. xxii. 6. Some masters have also been spiritual fathers to 
their servants ; there are those that, by being of the family of the faith- 
ful, have come to be of the family of faith. Acts x. i ; Josh. xxiv. 
God sometimes converteth by sufferings ; affliction, like the shep- 
herd's dog, hath brought those home into the fold of Christ which 
went astray like lost sheep : God hath cast some Manassehs and 
prodigals that were hard metal, into some hot fire, and thereby 
melted them, and fitted them to receive his own impression and 
image, Luke xv. ; 2 Chron. xxxiii. 11-13. 

But usually the ministry of the word is the pen in the hand of 
the Holy Ghost, with which he writeth the law of God in the heart. 
' The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul,' Ps. xix. 7. 
It is the incorruptible seed of the word, which by those spiritual 
husbandmen is thrown into the soil of men's hearts, that, through 
the influence of the Sun of righteousness and dews of heaven, spring- 
eth up in grace and holiness. 

1 Pet. i. 23. Ordinarily, there is no other way to beget grace 
than the word of grace, and it tendeth not the least to God's dis- 
honour ; nay, rather the weakness and meanhess of the instrument 
in such cases commendeth the workman, because he hath mani- 
fested this to be his pleasure ; ' It pleased him through the foolish- 


ness of preaching to save them that believe,' 1 Cor. i. 21. He will 
give light to the world only by the sun, though he could do other- 
wise ; therefore, as some observe, though light were made the first 
day, yet the sun was not made till the fourth day, to show that 
God could give light to the world without a sun. Thus God could 
convey the spiritual light of holiness without the sun of Scripture, 
but it is his will to make that his ordinary means. It is the word 
which makes clean the filthy, John xv. 3 ; which sanctifieth the un- 
holy, John xvii. 17 ; which begetteth grace in those that were grace- 
less. Acts ii. 37. For this cause it is called the ' ingrafted word,' 
James i. 21 ; for as the scion of a good apple grafted into a crab- 
tree stock doth change the harsh, sour nature of it, and maketh it 
sweet and pleasant, so the word preached, (for of that he speaketh, 
ver. 19, 20,) can change the stony, carnal, earthly heart of man, 
and make it soft, spiritual, and heavenly. 

Some have indeed been converted by reading, as Luther, Augus- 
tine, Junius, and others confess they were ; but most commonly it 
is by hearing that men's souls come to live, Kom. x. 14. There is 
a blessing for readers ; and there may be a fish or two caught in 
the net that is let down in a heap, but that is rare : it is not the 
net lapped up together, but haled out at length and spread all 
abroad, that bringeth in the draught : so it is the spreading out the 
word, the dilating on the matter in hand, which usually catcheth 

The law, like John Baptist, prepareth the way of the Lord, by 
opening and searching the festered wounds of the sinner, by mak- 
ing him sensible of his sores, his sins and misery, and heartily de- 
sire a physician, a Redeemer, Eom. vii. 9 ; then the gospel perfect- 
eth a cure, by pouring oil into the wounds, and binding them up, 
by acquainting the soul with, and interesting him in, the free and 
rich mercy of God in Christ, 2 Thess. ii. 14. The law, like Moses, 
bringeth to the borders, but the gospel, like Joshua, leadeth into 
Canaan. Thus the Scriptures, as is wittily expressed by one, are 
the bells which ring all in, which call people into the church of 
God. The poets speak of music which have made stones leap into 
walls ; this word of God hath turned stones into flesh, of stones it 
hath raised children unto Abraham. 

Fourthly, Here is the formal cause of regeneration, whereby God 
doth at first renew the whole man after his own image; now because 
this is the cause which doth specially difference a thing, and this 
being opened, its nature will best appear, I shall speak the more to 
it, and observe in it these four particulars. 

Chap. II.] by the key of kegeneration. 25 

1. The act, reneiv. 2. The subject, the loliole man. 3. The 
pattern, after Ms oivn image. 4. The season or time, at Jirsf. 

1. For the act, I call it a renewing, and so doth the apostle, Tit. 
iii. 5 ; Eph. iv. 23, 24, upon a double account ; partly because in 
regeneration nature is not ruined, but rectified. The convert is the 
same man, but new made. The faculties of his soul are not de- 
stroyed, but they are refined; the same viol, but new tuned. Christ 
gave not the blind man new eyes, but a new sight to the old ones, 
Christ did not give Lazarus a new body, but enliven his old body. 
So God in conversion doth not bestow a new understanding, but 
a new light to the old ; nor a new soul, but a new life to the old 
one. The powers of the man are like streams, not dried up, but 
turned into another channel. The truth is, that man by his fall 
from God is so exceedingly degenerated and polluted, that repair- 
ing and mending will not serve, he must be wholly and thoroughly 
new made ; as the house infected with the leprosy, scraping would 
not do, it must be pulled down, and new set up ; but as when a 
house pulled down is new set up, we use possibly the sanie timber 
and stones, and materials, which were in it before, only they are 
new squared and polished; what is rotten or amiss in them is pared 
off, and what is wanting, as several things will be, are added ; so 
when this now building of regeneration is erected, the Spirit of 
God makes use of the old substantial materials— the soul and its 
faculties, the body and its members — which were in man before, 
only polisheth and purifieth them, and squaretli them according to 
the rule of God's word ; it hews off what is unsound and sinful, and 
bestoweth that grace and holiness which is needful. He taketli not 
away our beings, but the wickedness and crookedness of our beings, 
and addeth a new gracious beauty which we had not before. We 
put off the rags of the old man, and put on the robes of the new 
man, and continue in regard of substance the same men. 

Again, I call it a renewing, partly because of the great change 
which is wrought in a man converted. New things differ much 
from the old for the better. how wonderfully doth the new born 
soul differ from his former self ! As Saul, when he received the 
spirit of courage, became another man, 1 Sam. x. 6, so doth the 
Christian when he receiveth the Spirit of grace. He is not in sum 
the same man he was before ; he liveth a new life, he walketh in 
a new way, he steereth his course by a new compass, and towards a 
new coast. His principle is new, his pattern is new, his practices 
are new, his projects are new, all is new. He ravels out all he had 
wove before, and employeth himself wholly about another work. 


What a change is there when the blind see, the deaf hear, the 
dumb speak, the Lame walk, the dead live, when the lion is turned 
into a lamb, darkness into light, sickness into health ! — why, all this, 
and more, is done in regeneration, when a sinner is changed into a 
saint. It is therefore most fitly called conversion. Acts xv. 3, which 
is a term borrowed from travellers, who being out of their way, 
turn about, and so get into it, leaving the way in which they were, 
and taking another, if need be, quite contrary to it. The sinner 
is born with his heart and face towards the flesh, the world, and 
hell, and with his back towards God, holiness, and heaven ; and so 
he goeth on many years, possibly till God convert him, and turn 
him about ; then his back is towards the former, his face and heart 
towards the latter : his whole life before was a departure, every 
action being a step, from God ; his whole life now is a drawing 
nigh, every duty being a nearer approach to God. 

A man and a beast differ much in their lives ; but a natural and 
regenerate person ditfer far more ; even as far as the Spirit of God, 
which is the principle of a Christian life, diifereth from the rational 
spirit of a man. 

Extraordinary and strange things are called new, Act xvii. 19 ; 
Jer. xxxi. 22. Well may the convert be called a new creature, the 
work of conversion making such a wonderful alteration that carnal 
men admire it ; ' they think it strange that ye run not with them 
to the same excess of riot,' 1 Pet. iv. 3, 4 ; nay those that are thus 
renewed, wonder at themselves, ' being called out of darkness into 
his marvellous light,' 1 Pet. ii. 9. Woeful darkness makes it 
wonderful light. As a man that hath been all his days kept in a 
dark prison and never beheld the sun, when he cometh to be set at 
liberty, and see the light, he stands amazed, wondering at it. 

2. The subject ; I call it a renewing of the whole man. As in 
our first birth, not one part or member is born, but every one ; so 
in our second birth the whole man is new born. By our first birth 
the whole man is polluted, and therefore by our second birth the 
whole man must be purified. Original sin defileth the whole man, 
from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet ; and regenera- 
tion refineth the whole man, soul, body, and spirit, Rom. iii. 13, 14; 
1 Thes. V. 23. The plaster must be as broad as the sore ; the leaven 
of grace doth season the whole lump. 'Old things pass away, and 
behold all things are become new,' 2 Cor. v. 17. The water of life 
within is not like a spring which ariseth in some parcel of ground, 
and terminateth in the same, but like the ocean, which compasseth 
about the whole (little) world of man. As when God's laws were 

Chap. II.] by the key of regeneration. 27 

written in tables of stone, ' the tables were written on both their 
sides, on the one side and on the other were they written,' Exod. 
xxxii. 15. The tables were written all over, they were full of the 
law : so the spiritual tables have the law, the image of God, written 
on every side, body and soul, every part of each, an inward con- 
formity in the heart, an outward correspondency in the life. 

In the new creature, though every part be not throughout 
sanctified, yet he is sanctified in every part throughout ; he hath a 
perfection of parts, though not of degrees. 

Kegeneration, like the sun, goeth through the twelve signs of the 
zodiac ; there is nothing hid from the heat thereof ; it moveth in, 
and worketh upon, every faculty of the soul and every member of 
the body. But the image of God is principally in the soul, or the 
inner man, Heb. viii. 10 ; Rom. vii. 22 ; Eph. iv. 23. As the 
heart, being the forge of the spirits, is the chief seat of a natural, 
so also of a spiritual life. The king's daughter is most glorious 
within, (though her clothing without be likewise of wrought gold,) 
there Satan before had his throne. It was as a child's pocket full 
of trash, or as a ditch full of mud and dirt. But now Christ will 
make that place the seat of his empire, and fill it like a cabinet 
with precious jewels ; and indeed the soul, being spiritual, is prin- 
cipally capable of his image, who is a spirit. 

I shall shew how the soul in its faculties, and the body in its 
members, are both renewed. 
In the soul I shall consider, 

1. The understanding, to which the Spirit of God makes its 
approach in the first place, enlightening it in the knowledge of sin 
and the Saviour, Eph. iv. 23. The understanding to a man is as 
a window to a house, which, before being continually shut, and 
little light appearing, it was no wonder that the heart lay so 
sluttishly, and was so full of the deeds of darkness ; but now God 
reneweth the soul in knowledge after the image of him that created 
him, Col. iii. 10. Before, the god of this world had blinded the mind 
that it could see neither the emptiness of the world, nor the precious- 
ness of the word, nor the loathsomeness of sin, nor the loveliness 
of the Saviour, nor the vanity of the creature, nor the excellency 
of the divine nature ; but whereas the man was blind before, now 
he seeth ; being made spiritual, he judgeth all things, 1 Cor. ii. 14, 
15. He judgeth the things of heaven to be far better than the 
things of earth, the concernments of his soul much more worth 
than the concernments of his body, and the affairs of eternity far 
more precious than the rattles and trifles of time, and all by reason 


of the new sight bestowed on him. Satan truly carrieth men hood- 
winked to hell, as higglers carry their fowls in dorsers to the city, 
where they are killed, that they cannot see one foot of the way ; 
neither know they whither they are going, but God doth not carry 
men blindfold to bliss ; but as in the old, so in the new creation, he 
beginneth with light. 

The understanding in regeneration is illuminated to see two 
things especially : sin to be the greatest evil, and God in Christ to 
be the greatest good ; and I verily believe the mistake of the man 
before about these two things was a principal cause of the many 
miscarriages in his heart and life. Before he looked on sin through 
the devil's spectacles, and beheld that strumpet dressed in her gaudy 
attire of pleasure and profit, whereby she was to him as the for- 
bidden fruit to Eve, pleasant to the eyes ; but now he beholdeth sin 
through the glass of the law, (in its opposition to the blessed God 
and his own happiness,) stript naked of all those counterfeit and 
borrowed ornaments ; and it is the evil of evils, sinful sin indeed. 
He judgeth it worse than diseases or disgraces, than losses or crosses, 
yea, than serpents or devils, Rom. vii. 13 ; Heb. xi. 25 ; Dan. iii. 17 
and vi. 10. Formerly he saw no such hurt in sin that professors 
were so shy of it, and preachers so hot against it, that the Son of 
God must die, and the greatest part of the world be danmed for it ; 
but now he hath other thoughts of it, for he seeth its contrariety to 
the Lord and his precepts, and subscribeth unfeignedly to the right- 
eousness of the law. Before he saw little desirableness in the 
infinitely amiable God ; ' he saw no form nor comeliness in him, 
that when he beheld him he should desire him/ Isa. liii. He 
wondered what made others so much in love with him ; his voice 
was to a Christian, ' What is thy beloved more than another be- 
loved, that thou dost thus follow hard after him,' forsake all for 
him, dedicate thyself wholly to him; that thou prayest so fervently, 
hearest so diligently, servest him so cheerfully, art so careful to 
.please him, so fearful of offending him ? He judgeth him happier 
that had plenty of the creature, than him that had God in Christ 
for his portion ; but now his mind is enlightened to ' know the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent,' John xvii. 3. He 
seeth such beauty in his being, such equity in his laws, such infinite 
excellency in the divine nature, such unspeakable felicity in the 
fruition of his favour through Jesus Christ, that he esteemeth his 
very life, yea, all that he is worth for this and the other world, as 
Jacob's in Benjamin, to be bound up in the love and life of God, 
Ps. Ixxiii, 25, and Ixiii. 3. 

Chap. II.] by the key of regeneration. 29 

Secondly, The conscience is also renewed ; to this faculty the 
Spirit makes its address in the next place. The conscience of the 
man naturally was so hard and obdurate, that as ice, through the 
extremity and continuance of a great frost, you might have driven 
carts heavy laden over it, and it would not break ; though moun- 
tains of lust, more heavy than lead, lay upon him, he complained 
not, Jer. viii. 6. But now his conscience is as the water which 
hath such a tender film of ice upon it, that yieldeth at the least 
touch, a small stroke of sin maketh an impression upon it ; before 
it was seared with a red hot iron, 1 Tim. iv. 2, and past feeling, 
Eph. iv. 17-19 ; as that member whicli the chirurgeon intendetli 
to cut off is so mortified by means applied to it for that end that 
it feeleth not the saw or instrument which parts it from the body, 
so the conscience was by custom in sin so cauterised, that it felt not 
the sword of the Spirit ; neither ministry, nor misery, nor miracle, 
nor mercy could prevail with it ; but now it becomes tender and 
flexible ; a little prick with a pin is painful to it ; as the eye, it is 
offended with the smallest dust, 2 Chron. xxii. 19 ; 'it is void of 
offence towards God and man,' Acts xxiv^ 16. Before, it, like 
Michaiah to Ahab, never spake good to the man, but frightened 
him with fears, and terrified him with the pre-apprehensions of his 
eternal torments ; it followed him to bed and board, and dogged 
him day and night like a sergeant to arrest him, at the suit of the 
most High, for the vast debts which he owed to the divine Majesty. 
The man and his conscience were like fire and water, they never 
met, if the hands of conscience were not tied down by force, but 
they fought. Like some contentious couple, they were always 
scolding one with another, and striving for the mastery. The 
endeavour of conscience was the angel to Balaam to stand in the 
sinner's way with a drawn sword, and stop him in his cursed course ; 
the care of the sinner was to serve conscience as Herod did the 
Baptist, even to cut off its head, for having a tongue in it so bold 
as to check him for his crimes, Heb. ii. 15 ; Eom. ii. 15 ; Heb. ix. 
14. But now conscience being sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, 
is purged from dead works ; and so being purified, is pacified. 
The creditor now is satisfied by the payment which the surety hath 
made, and thereby the debtor is discharged. Conscience now waits 
on the Christian, not as a sergeant to molest him, but as a servant 
to assist him to its utmost power. The convert and his conscience 
are now like two in concert that keep tune and time together, or 
as some loving husbands and wives who strive most which shall 
please the other best. Conscience strives to please the Christian 


by asking the law at God's lips, and making Scripture its coun- 
sellor; the Christian strives to please his conscience by yielding 
hearty subjection to its holy counsels, Heb. ix. 14 ; 1 Tim. i. 5 ; 
Eom. V. 1. The renewed conscience giveth the new creature more 
solid comfort in one duty than the natural man, though he equal 
Methuselah's age, hath all his days, Phil. iv. 4. 

Thirdly, The will is also renewed : the will before was carnal, 
crooked, stubborn, rebellious against God and his will, ' the works 
of the devil he will do,' John viii. 44, ' And as for the word which 
thou hast spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not do it,' 
Jer. xliv. 16. 'It is resolved for evil and against good,' Eph. ii. 3 ; 
John v. 40. This is Satan's fort-royal, wherein he continually 
secures himself in the unregenerate when he is in a skirmish beaten 
out of the outworks by some sudden conviction ; and in this, as 
Sampson in his hair, his whole strength lieth. Take away will, 
and you take away hell. But this faculty is now made pliable and 
flexible to the divine Majesty. It is made so spiritual, regular, 
and consonant to the will of God, that the convert may safely, if 
humbly, say with Luther, Lord, let my will be done, because it is 
thy will. God and the godly man do now as two friends, will and 
nill the same thing, Ps, xl. 6, 7. 

As the will is a servant, it is now cheerfully subject to its Master 
in heaven. Its voice is, 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' 
Acts ix. 6 ; and, ' Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth,' 1 Sam. iii. 
Do but shew it your commission from the King of kings for 
what you require, and it presently doth obey, not dispute your 

As a master, for it is a centurion in authority, which hath many 
at its command ; it saitli to one faculty, Go, and it goeth ; to another. 
Come, and it cometh ; to a third, Do this, and it doth it ; it ruleth 
now according to divine writ, and gives laws to all under it, accord- 
ing to the orders which it receiveth from God its commander-in- 
chief ; were the Christian's power but answerable and equal to his 
will, he would be as holy on earth as he shall be in heaven, Ps. 
cxix. 5 ; Eom. vii. 15, 18, 19. 

The iron gate, indeed, of man's will is far from opening of its own 
accord ; the will is hardest won of any faculty ; it is like the strong 
fort of Zion in Jerusalem, which Joshua himself could not surprise ; 
the son of David alone can do it. But the Spirit of God doth 
powerfully, though sweetly, incline it to choose God, and for God. 
The understanding discovering to the conscience the necessity, 
excellency, and benefit of proclaiming and prosecuting an open and 

Chap. II] by the key of kegeneration, 31 

eternal war against all sin, and of accepting and embracing an ever- 
lasting covenant with God in Christ, and of submitting to the guid- 
ance and government of the spirit ; conscience doth in the name 
of God, whose officer it is, charge the will to close with these things ; 
the will, the Spirit striking in, yieldeth contentedly, and resolvetli 
accordingly; God persuades this Japhet to dwell in the tents of 

4. The affections are likewise renewed. The understanding and 
will, the superior officers, being won, these, like faithful private 
soldiers, readily follow their leaders, or as dutiful handmaids, they 
obey the commands of their master and mistress. They are called 
by some the shapings or formings of the will in several motions, 
according to the object presented ; so that the will, like the sun 
moving heavenward, these, like sun-flowers, must necessarily follow 
its motion. 

Before, these affections were in several regards full of corruption, 
but now they are purified for the master's use. Before, they were 
carried out towards wrong objects, hatred was set upon God, Kom. 
i. 30 ; his word, Prov. i. 29 ; Ps. 1. 17 ; and people, John xv. 19 ; 
love was bestowed on sensual delights, Ps. iv. 2 ; Jer. v, 31 ; 2 Tim. 
iii. 2-4 ; and sin, Micah iii. 2 ; Prov. i. 22. But now the man 
loathes what formerly he loved, and loves what formerly he loathed, 
though sin were the luscious meat which did so exceedingly please 
his palate, that his teeth were always watering after it, and he rolled 
it as a sweet morsel under his tongue ; yet, now he serves it, as 
Amnon did Tamar, the hatred wherewith he hates it is far greater 
than the love wherewith he loved it, Ps. cxix. 104 ; Piom. vii. 17. 
He cannot see this knife with which he had cut the throat of his 
precious soul and dearest Saviour, but his eye affects his heart with 
sorrow and anger ; oh, it is a killing look which he now gives his 
most beloved lust ; he cannot meet this brat of hell, this ugly guest 
in any room of the house,, but his heart riseth against it. And as 
hateful as God was to him before, Ps. xiv. 2 ; Eom. viii. 5, 7 ; yet 
now he alone is the savoury meat which his soul loveth, Ps. xviii. 
1, and Ixxiii. 25. If this dish stand on his table, though all others 
be removed, he hath that dish which he loveth best. 

His joy, before in the creatures, is now in Christ, Amos vi. 13 ; 
Prov. ii. 14; Kom. v. 2-4; Phil. ,iy. 4; his sorrow was before for 
sufferings, but it is now for sin, 2 Cor. vii. 9-11, His fear was 
before, lest he should lose his flocks, or his friends, or outward 
mercies ; but now it is, lest by sin he should lose God's favour, Ps. 
iv. 6 ; Isa. viii. 12, 13. 


His desire was before enlarged after gold as hell ; but now it is 
after grace as heaven, Hos. vii. 14 ; Ps. xlii. 1 . Mat, v. 6 ; Ps. 
Ixiii. 1 : ' The desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remem- 
brance of thee,' Isa. xxvi. 8. 

Before, the affections were also carried out inordinately after 
objects that were lawful. The man was like to be drowned in the 
shallows of lawful enjoyments ; when he joyed in the creatures he 
would overjoy, and turn thereby his mirth into madness ; when he 
loved his relations he would over-love them, and change thereby his 
love to them into self, or soul hatred. So for his anger, Eph. iv. 
26, it would exceed its limits, even where it was lawful. For these 
passions of the mind are like the water of the sea, useful and profit- 
able if kept within their bounds, but if they overflow the banks, 
they are very hurtful, and threaten a deluge ; but the regenerate 
person doth moderate and rectify these affections, Col. iii. 1 ; 1 John 
ii. 15; 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30. He keepeth his fire so watchfully, that 
it doth not burn his house. 

Besides, the affections were corrupt before, in regard of the con- 
trariety which is in them. They did torture and tear the child of 
disobedience ; one drawing one way, another plucking him the con- 
trary way ; but grace composeth the affections which could never 
agree one with another ; before conversion, hope and fear, joy and 
grief, humility and resolution, were repugnant to each other ; but 
regeneration makes them good friends ; when the new creature's 
heart leaps with hope of heaven, he is then fullest of fear lest he 
should displease God ; when he is mourning for sin he can rejoice 
in his Saviour ; as the heavens can shine and shower at the same 
time, he can be meek and fiery as Moses, Num. xii. ; humble and 
resolute as Paul ; and yet not, like Rebecca, have two contrary 
nations struggling within him. The understanding, will, and con- 
science, are the chief strings in the soul, to which all the rest are 
tuned ; now they being by the Spirit set up to their due height 
and holiness, the affections are wound up accordingly, and so make 
a complete harmony of the whole, and yield a grateful sound in the 
ears of God. 

5. The memory is renewed. This master of the rolls, or keeper 
of the ancient records, was formerly as a grate, suffering the pure 
and clear water to go through, retaining only the mud and filth ; 
but now it is like a fan, casting away the chaff, and keeping the 
good corn : it was before as a sieve, letting the fine flour go through, 
and holding fast the bran ; but now it is like the ark, wherein the 
two tables are safely laid up. The sanctified man's memory is a 

Chap. II.] by the key of regeneration. 33 

spiritual treasury, he layeth up the things of God, as Mary, in his 
heart, Luke ii. 19, and as occasion serveth, bringeth them forth, and 
layeth them out in his life ; he remembereth the commandments of 
God to do them, Exod. xx. ; Ps. cix. 16. 

Indeed, as the rest, so this faculty is renewed but in part ; and, 
therefore, as in the best room a spider may set up her cobweb, in 
the best garments there will be dust, so in the best memory there 
may be somewhat which is bad and filthy ; but the cleanly Christian 
no sooner spieth it, but he sweeps it away. 

This work of regeneration doth also reach to the body ; the strong 
castle of the soul being taken and sanctified, the town of the body 
commanded by it presently yieldeth. The wheels and poises being 
right within, the hand of the dial will go right without. When 
Satan sat on the throne of the soul, as king, the members of the 
body, which the Holy Ghost termeth in unregenerate persons 
' weapons of unrighteousness,' Eom. vi. 13, were his militia, and em- 
ployed to defend his unjust title, to execute his ungodly designs, to 
perform his hellish pleasure, the head to plot, the hands to act, the 
feet to run, the eyes to see, the ears to hear, tlie tongue to speak for 
him; but as when an enemy is conquered, and a magazine in war 
is taken, the general maketh use of those arms and of that ammuni- 
tion for his service, which before were employed against him ; so 
the strong man Satan being beaten out of his strongholds by Christ 
the stronger than he, the members of the body which before were 
instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, are now instruments of 
righteousness unto God, Eom. vi. 13, 16. The eyes, which before 
were wanton, open, and full of adultery, 2 Pet. ii. 14, are now locked 
down fast with a covenant not to look after a maid. Job xxxi. 1 : 
' They are turned away from beholding vanity,' Ps. cxix. 37. The 
of ears which before were as deaf as the adder, not hearing the voice 
the heavenly charmer, do now hearken to what the Lord speaketh ; 
so soon as the wandering sheep is brought home to the fold of 
Christ, he is known by his ear-mark : ' He heareth Christ's voice, 
and followeth him,' John x. 27 ; Ps. Ixxxv. 8. The breath and speech, 
which before were corrupt, stinking, as proceeding from rotten 
lungs, an unsanctified heart, Rom. iii., is now sweet, seasoned with 
grace, for the man's inward parts are sound. Anatomists teach us 
that the heart and tongue hang on one string : ' The mouth of the 
righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment ; 
for the law of God is in his heart,' Ps. xxxvii. 31 ; his lips speak 
the language of Canaan. The sound of the metal discovers it to be 
silver ; his very speech bewrayeth him, as tliey said of Peter, Mat. 

VOL. V. c 


xxvi. 73, to belong to Jesus. His feet before made haste to shed 
blood, they ran to evil, were the devil's legacy to go on his errands, 
Eom. iii. 15 ; Prov. i. 16 ; but now they are turned to God's testi- 
monies, they run the way of God's commandments, Ps. cxix. 1, 59. 
His hands before were full of oppression, violence, bribery, and 
extortion, Ps. xxvi. 10 ; Prov. vi. 17 ; Satan's servants, to make 
up that work which he cut out, but now they are lifted up to God's 
law and word. Thus in their places are all the faculties of the soul 
and members of the body obedient to God's precepts and service- 
able to his will. 

Thirdly, I observe in this formal cause, the pattern, it is a renew- 
ing of the whole man after the image of God. Man's loss and 
misery by his fall consisteth in these two things : 1. He lost God's 
image and likeness ; 2. God's favour and love. Now that the 
second Adam might recover us to God's love, he doth imprint on 
us God's image ; for likeness is the ground of love. Therefore the 
regenerate are said to be partakers of the divine nature, 2 Pet. i. 
4, and the new man, which they put on in conversion, is said to be 
after God, and after the image of him that created them, Eph. iv. 
23 ; Col. iii. 10 ; the law of God is written in their hearts, Heb. 
viii. 10 ; which law is nothing but a conformity or likeness to the 
nature and will of the Lord. The corrupt image of Satan and the 
old Adam is defaced; therefore it is called a putting off the old 
man. Col. iii. 9 : Eph. iv. 23 ; the pure image of God is introduced, 
therefore it is called a putting on the new man, Eph. iv. 24 ; which 
after God is created in righteousness and true holiness ; and a being 
holy as God is holy, 1 Pet. i. 14-16. And, indeed, all these new- 
born children do, so far as they are regenerate, completely resemble 
their Father. Their godliness is nothing but god-likeness, a beam 
of the divine glory, a representation of God's own perfections. As 
the wax bears the image of the seal, and the glass of the face, so 
doth the new creature bear the image of his Creator. David was 
a man after God's own heart, because a man in some measure after 
God's own holiness. 

Fourthly, I observe, in this formal cause, the season. I say it is 
the work of God's Spirit, whereby he doth at first renew the whole 
man after his own image. These words at first do distinguish re- 
generation from sanctification. Sanctification is a constant, pro- 
gressiv^e renewing of the whole man, whereby the new creature 
doth daily more and more die unto sin and live unto God. Re- 
generation is the birth, sanctification is the growth of this babe of 
grace. In regeneration, the sun of holiness rises ; in sanctification it 

Chap. II.] by the key of regeneration. 35 

keepeth its course, and shineth brigh.ter and brighter unto the perfect 
day, Prov. iv. 18. The former is a specifical change from nature 
to grace, Eph. v. 8 ; the latter is a gradual change from one degree 
of grace to another, Ps. Ixxxiv. 7, whereby the Christian goeth from 
strength to strength till he appear before God in Sion. As creation 
and preservation differ, so do conversion and sanctification. Crea- 
tion is the production of something out of nothing. Preservation is a 
continued creation, or creation every moment in a new edition. Con- 
version is a new creation, 2 Cor. v. 17 — the making of new heavens 
and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness ; sanctification 
is a continued conversion, or conversion every moment in a newer 
and more correct edition. Thus much for the formal cause of re- 
generation — a renewing of the whole man at first after God's image. 
Fifthly, Here is in the definition the final causes of regeneration, 
the glory of God and the salvation of his elect. The first is the 
more, the other the less principal end. They are both joined to- 
gether in God's decree and intention, and in the saints' calling, and 
the execution of his decree. ' The Lord made all things for him- 
self,' Prov. xvi. 3, but especially the new creation : that being his 
masterpiece and choice work, is particularly designed for the credit 
of the workman : ' All thy works shall praise thee, God, and thy 
saints shall bless thee,' Ps. cxlv. 10. All God's works do praise 
him, even earth, and heavens, and brutes, analogically, after a 
manner, by serving him in their places and stations, and giving 
others matter and occasion of praising him. Sinners may praise 
him formally after a manner, as trumpets make a loud noise, but 
are filled only with wind ; but saints only can praise him properly 
after his manner, in such a way as he accepteth. Praise is the 
highest, the most excellent part of divine worship. Now, ' excellent 
speech becometh not a fool,' Prov. xvii. 7, as every sinner is ; ' but 
praise is comely for the upright/ Ps. xxxiii. 1. The water of 
saints' praises is drawn out of a deep spring, the heart, and so 
it is sweet and pleasant. This is God's great end in sowing the 
precious seed of grace, that he might reap a crop of glory : Acts 
XV. 14, ' God did at first visit the Gentiles, and take out of them 
(mark !) a people for his name.' He makes them partakers of his 
nature, that they might be a people for his name. So Isa. xliii. 21 : 
' This people have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth my 
praise.' God formed all the people in the world for himself, for his 
own praise. Even a Pharaoh is created and advanced, that God 
might be exalted, Kom. ix. 17. But this regenerated people is the 
people which God principally designeth for his own praise. ' This 


people I have formed for myself — other people I have passed by like 
old pieces of metal, leaving tliem in their dust and rust ; but this 
people I have thrown into the fire of my word, liave cast them 
anew, and made them vessels of gold, meet for my own service and 
glory — ' they shall shew forth my praise.' They — alas, others may 
praise him ignorantly, as the arrow hitteth the mark, but knoweth 
not its own motion ; or forcedly, as he squeezeth confessions from 
them of his justice and strength when they are under the rod or 
upon the rack, Exod. ix. 27. And this is no thank to the will of 
man, but to the power of God, who, like the huntsman, useth the 
rage of the dogs to his own end, and maketh the wrath of man to 
praise him, Ps. Ixx. 10 ; or at best they praise him but notion- 
ally, and by hearsay, as one born blind may commend the sun, or 
a stranger the country he never saw. How far short must these 
come when no creature can do God right, or limn out his vast per- 
fections in their several dimensions ! Surely these must do him 
wrong, and blot his name with the most curious pencil of their 
most studied praises ; but this people shall shew forth my praise. 

Alexander would have none draw his picture but Apelles, or cut 
his statue but Lysippus, because none else had art enough to do it 
well. Certain it is, none have skill and wisdom to shew forth God's 
praise, but that people which he formed for that purpose ; — this 
people which have felt the weight of their sins, and smarted with 
wounds in their souls ; this people which have sometimes been ter- 
rified under the apprehension of my unspeakable fury, and the expec- 
tation of the unquenchable fire ; this people that have seen their 
corruptions in their colours, suffered divine terrors, given them- 
selves over for dead, damned creatures, and then were by bottomless 
mercy drawn out of the depth of misery, translated out of death 
and darkness into the kingdom of light and life ; this people which 
I have purchased with the blood of my Son, beautified with the 
graces of my Spirit, interested in rich promises, entitled to the 
heavenly possession ; this people which have been carried, like the 
ambassadors of the king of Babylon, into the temple, 2 Kings xx. 
12, and seen all the richness and glory thereof, the pleasures and 
comforts therein, tasting me to be gracious, sitting under my 
shadow with great delight, solacing their souls with the means of 
grace, and rejoicing in hope of eternal glory. This people shall 
praise the greatness of my power, the manifoldness of my wisdom, 
the sweetness of my love, the sureness of my word, the riches of 
my mercy, the freeness of my grace, the beauty of my image, the 
preciousness of my Christ, and all this upon their own knowledge 

Chap, II.] by the key of regeneration. 37 

and experience. the hosannahs and hallelujahs, the praise, and 
glory, and honour, and thanks which this people shall give to the 
Lord, and to the Lamb for ever ! The harps of saints are tuned 
to these songs on earth ; but who can conceive what ravishing 
music they will make in running divisions on these several notes in 
heaven ! Surely, surely, the greatest revenues of praise which come 
into Grod's exchequer, are from the hearty acclamations of his sancti- 
fied and saved ones. As they receive the choicest mercies, the 
love of God, the blood of Christ, pardon, peace, grace, glory, so they 
return the highest praises. 

The building of man's body is so stately a structure, the rooms 
in it so curious, the hangings and furniture so rich and costly, em- 
broidered as with needlework, that the owner of the house hath a 
considerable rent of honour paid for it. ' I will praise thee,' saith 
David, ' for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ; my substance 
was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously 
wrought in the lowest part of the earth,' Ps. cxxxix. 14, 15. The 
setting up of the new creation, as it is more glorious, the image of 
God's own perfections, though it be imperfect in this life, the heart 
of a saint being bespangled, like the heavens, with those glistering 
stars of graces, and his life being a legible comment on the divine 
law ; so it brings the Author a larger income of honour. This is 
the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in the godly man's eye, 1 
Tim. i. 13, 14, 17 ; 1 Peter i. 3 ; but when the good work now be- 
gun shall be finished, then God's praises shall be perfected. When 
the foundation of this spiritual temple is laid in this world, they 
cry, Grace, grace ; but when the topstone shall be laid in the other 
world, then they shall cry, Glory, glory. Blessed are they that dwell 
in that house, they ever praise him ; in that temple doth every one 
speak of his glory. Therefore the Psalmist observeth that, when 
the Lord shall build up Zion, then he shall appear in his glory, 
Ps. cii, 16. While his Church is building, he is glorious ; but as 
the sun under a cloud, not appearing so to the beholders ; we can 
see but little of his infinite beauty because of our weak eyes, and 
receive but little of his infinite bounty because of our narrow 
hearts ; but when Zion shall be built up in heaven, our eyes 
shall be strengthened to see the King in his glory, to see him as he 
is, and the water-pots of our souls enlarged and filled up to the 
brim with those streams which make glad the city of God ; then 
the Lord shall appear in his glory ; then he shall have the honour 
of all his attributes, the praise of all his providences, and the glory 
of all his perfections ; for then he shall appear in all his royalty, 


embroidery, magnificence, and glorj^ When the saints shall have 
sailed in the vessel of their Saviour, through the boisterous waters 
of men's wrath, devils' rage, and the law's curse, and be safely landed 
in heaven, then God shall have his full price of honour and glory 
for their freight. 

The other end of regeneration, namely, the salvation of the elect, 
is purposely omitted here, because it will be fully spoken to in the 
next head— the first reason of the doctrine. So much for the de- 
scription of regeneration. 


Tlie reason ivhy regeneration is necessary in all that ivill obtain 


In the next place, I shall speak to the reasons why there is a 
necessity of regeneration in every man that would obtain salvation. 
■ First, Because every man must be prepared for, before he can be 
admitted into, that holy place. We say in philosophy, nature doth 
nothing yer saltum ; the ground is prepared for an harvest, by 
being dunged, ploughed, and sowed ; it is as true in this point of 
divinity ; the God of nature will not save a man per saltum, nor 
remove a swine out of a stye, immediately into a dining-room ; nor 
take a sinner reeking in his lusts, and presently invest him with a 
crown of life ; no, the man must be prepared by regeneration or 
holiness in part, for salvation or holiness which is perfect. The 
heathen king would not admit virgins to his bed till they had been 
purified, Esther ii. 12. And surely the King of kings will not 
receive any into his nearest and dearest embraces, till they are 
' cleansed from all pollutions both of flesh and spirit.' 

Every man by his first birth is polluted, mere darkness, not 
receiving the things of God, Eph. v. 8, mere hardness, as unable as 
a stone to move in the ^ays of God, Ezek. xxxvi. 26 ; wholly cap- 
tivated under the dominion of sin and Satan, Eph. ii. 1, 2, 3, and 
hereby is unprepared for that holy place. The most godly father 
begetteth an ungodly child : ' Adam begat a son after his own ' 
(not God's) ' image,' Gen. v. 3. The white halegens hatch black 
young ones. Though the wheat be thrashed, fanned, and parted 
from the straw and chaff, yet when sowed it bringeth forth wheat 
both with stalk and husk : ' That which is born of the flesh is 
flesh,' John iii. 5 ; ' now flesh and blood,' (especially in this de- 
praved sense,) ' cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven,' 1 Cor. xv. 

Chap. III.] by the key of regeneration. 39 

A raker in privies is not fit for a king's presence, but regenera- 
tion preparetli the soul, by purifying it, for heaven ; it maketh the 
creature meet for tlie inheritance of the saints in light, Col. i. 12. 
We scald and season vessels with hot water, and thereby fit and 
prepare them to hold wine, or some precious liquor ; so God sea- 
soneth the soul with grace, and thereby preparetli it for glory. 
Grace and glory differ not specifically but gradually ; grace is cetas 
infantilis glorice, as learned Davenant calleth it, the infancy of 
glory ; glory is the maturity of full growth of grace, the same state 
in a higher stature ; grace is glory inchoate, glory is grace con- 
summate ; therefore as clothes by lighter colours are fitted to 
receive a deep scarlet dye, so Christians, by grace or regeneration, 
are prepared for glory and salvation. 

The grammar teacheth the scholar to construe and parse, and 
that fitteth him in time for the university. Regeneration teacheth 
the Christian what mediate communion with God meaneth, and 
that fitteth for immediate communion. Regeneration makes us 
capable of the beatifical vision, Mat. v. 8, not as a mere condition, 
but as a necessary disposition in the agent towards its object, as 
the sensitive faculties are required to the act of sensation, as well as 
sensible objects. 

And indeed heaven would not be heaven — that is, a place of hap- 
piness — to them which are not fitted for it by holiness. We say of 
men brought up in the country, that they would not delight in the 
honours and pleasures of a court, because such things would 
neither suit their education or dispositions ; so men who know no 
other heaven than to eat, and drink, and sleep, and roar, and revel, 
and like swine to wallow in the mire of sensual lusts, would never 
delight in that place of spiritual and angelical pleasures ; for it 
would suit neither their sinful breeding nor sensual natures. If 
their sore eyes, which are continually running with a rheum of cor- 
ruption, cannot without pain behold the starlight of holiness in 
the saints, how can they with any delight see God face to face, and 
behold that blessed Sun in his eternal noontide of purity and 
glory ? Therefore, as they that are to live in another country are 
fitted for it by learning the language, customs and carriage of the 
people in that country, so God will have them who are to 
live in the heavenly country, learn beforehand the work of the 
citizens there, namely, how to please, praise, glorify, and enjoy his 

Secondly, Every man must be regenerated or he cannot be saved, 
because all that attain heaven must be interested in the purchaser 


of heaven. Those that go to that place must be united to, and 
have a part in him that laid down the price ; though man may be 
a possessor of heaven, yet Christ alone was the purchaser of it : 
' We have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,' 
Heb. X. 19 ; Acts iv. 12; 1 John ii. 29. He alone is the Jacob's 
ladder reaching from earth to heaven, by the help of which the 
Christian may ascend thither ; all other deeds of conveyance will 
be found forged, and all claims made to the undefiled inheritance 
which are not under him are false ; therefore heaven is called the 
' purchased possession,' Eph. i. 14, because bought with the pre- 
cious blood of Christ ; for till a man's person be justified it can never 
be .glorified ; the guilt of sin must be removed, or the sinner cannot 
be saved ; the soul must be reconciled to God, and accepted as 
righteous in his Son, or it can never dwell with God, and be made 
glorious as his Son. 

There are two changes indispensably requisite in all that would 
be saved. The one is the change of a man's state, or a moral 
change, when of a bondman to sin and Satan he is made a free- 
man, John viii. S6, when of a slave to the devil he is made the son 
of God ; when he is brought from under the covenant of works, to 
be under the covenant of grace ; when of an enemy to God he is 
reconciled to him by the death of his Son ; when though he were 
far off, he is made nigh ; though he was not beloved, yet now is 
beloved ; though he was a child of wrath, is now a vessel of mercy, 
John i. 12 ; Rom. v. 10 ; Eph. ii. 3 ; Eom. ix. 23 ; 1 Pet. ii. 9, 10. 
The other is the change of a man's nature, or a physical change, 
wdien the whole man is renewed after the image of God. The for- 
mer is relative, this is real ; the former is the change of his condi- 
tion, this of his disposition ; the former change is wrought in jus- 
tification, this in regeneration, Now the change of a man's nature 
is absolutely necessary, because, till this be wrought, there is no 
change of a man's state ; the person is unjustified while the nature 
is unsanctified ; for though Christ be the purchaser of the pardon 
of sin, of peace with God, of perseverance in grace, of an inherit- 
ance in glory, yet it is only for those that are in him — that is, really 
united to him : ' There is no condemnation to them which are in 
Christ Jesus,' Rom. viii. 1. A virgin hath no right at all to the 
honours and treasure of a man, notwithstanding some well-wishes 
towards him, till she be married to him, and become one flesh with 
him ; so a Christian hath no right at all to the great and good 
things which are Christ's, till he be married to the Lord Jesus, 
and become one spirit with him; union is the ground of com- 

Chap. IV.] by the key of kegenekation. 41 

miinion. Probably when the flood came many hung about the 
ark, but the waves quickly washed them oflf ; those only that were 
in the ark were saved ; thus all that hang only about Christ, the 
true ark, by a general profession, will be drowned, will be damned 
when the deluge of wrath cometh ; they only that are in him by a 
real implantation shall be saved. Now saith the apostle, and ob- 
serve it reader, ' if any man be in Christ he is a new creature,' 2 
Cor. V. 17. Therefore regeneration is required, because by it the 
creature is planted into Christ ; regeneration cutteth the man off 
from his own stock, and grafteth him into the Lord Jesus ; rege- 
neration throweth the sinner off from his own bottom, and builds 
him on the Saviour as a sure foundation. Kegeneration is, as it 
were, the minister which marrieth Christ and the soul together ; 
therein the soul giveth itself unfeignedly to Christ, and Christ 
giveth himself really to the soul, and thereby the sins and weak- 
nesses of the soul, the wife, become the husband's ; and the riches, 
and righteousness, the home and heaven of Christ, the husband's, 
become the wife's. 

When God converteth a sinner, he sendeth his messenger, as 
Abraham his steward, to provide a wife for his only Son ; the min- 
ister, like the servant with Kebecca, treateth with the soul, telling 
it how infinitely blessed his master's son is ; how rich, even the 
heir of all things ; how beautiful, even the fairest of ten thousands, 
and altogether lovely ; how exceedingly this marriage will be for 
its advantages ; upon this, the Spirit striking in, the soul consenteth 
to take Christ for its lord and husband, and so becometh the spouse 
of the God of Isaac, and hath heaven entailed on it for a jointure. 


The first tise of the doctrine, containing the gross delusion of all 
unregenerate jpersons. 

I proceed now from the explication to the application of the 
doctrine, and it may be useful to us several ways. 

First, By way of information ; if without regeneration men and 
women can never attain salvation, then it informeth us, in the 
first place, how gross and how great is the delusion of graceless 
and irreligious persons. How exceedingly do most sinners cheat 
and cozen their own souls ! Reader, it may be thou art a drunk- 
ard, a swearer, a scoffer at godliness, an atheist in thy heart, in 


thy soul, and yet thou hopest to get to heaven. desperate delu- 
sion ! I tell thee, either this text which I write of, and which is 
the word of the true and living God, must be false, (which the 
devil himself is not so great a blasphemer as to think,) or thou art 
a brand for the unquenchable fire. Do but look into the black list 
of those that are for utter darkness, and thou mayest read thy very 
name Avritten there in broad letters, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. * Know ye 
not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God ? Be 
not deceived/ soul-cheater ; ' neither fornicators, nor idolaters, 
nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with 
mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, 
nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God,' see Gal. v. 
19-21, and vi. 7, 8 ; Eph. v. 5, 6. Friend, I could name forty texts 
of Scripture which pass sentence of everlasting condemnation on 
thy soul, and yet thou thinkest, in despite of God and his word, to 
be saved. I assure thee, profane wretch, thou comest short of 
hundreds which shall come short of heaven. Many bid fair, to 
the eyes of men, by civility, morality, and common grace, but 
come not up to the price, to regeneration, and so miss of that place; 
thou art every day adding sin to sin, drunkenness to thirst, post- 
ing in the road to hell, and yet say est that thou shalt arrive at 
heaven ! Well, within a few days it shall be tried whose words 
are truest, God's or thine. 

But if thou mayest be convinced of thy soul flattery, before it 
bring thee into endless misery, I shall shew thee the utter impossi- 
bility of thy salvation while thou remainest in this condition. 
There are four gates through which all must go that get into the 
new Jerusalem, every one of which is shut, locked, barred, and 
bolted against thee. 

1. They that get to heaven must go through the gate of election. 
As all that were not reckoned by genealogy were put by the priest- 
hood as being polluted, Ezra ii. 62, so all are excluded eternal life 
whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life, Kev. xx. 
15, ' Whosover was not found written in the book of life was cast 
into the lake of fire.' Now, this gate of election is shut against 
profaneness ; thou hast not the least ground to imagine that thou 
art elected whilst thou art unconverted, because God decreed all 
them to be sanctified whom he decreed to be saved ; mark that : 
2 Thes. ii. 13, 14, 'Who hath chosen us to salvation through 
sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.' The end and 
the way were both in God's thoughts together. Those whose 
names are registered in heaven, their natures are regenerated on 

Chap. IV.] by the key of kegeneration, 43 

earth : ' Whom he did predestinate, them he also called,' Rom. 
viii. 30. The first rise (saith one) and spring of mercy is election, 
which breaketh out by effectual calling, and so floweth down in 
the channels of faith and holiness till it loses itself in the ocean of 
glory. Vocation is the outward expression of God's inward in- 
tention to save a sinner, or the first impression of the seal upon 
the wax ; therefore election and vocation are both conjoined, Rev. 
xvii. 14 ; nay, the one is put for the other, 1 Cor. i. 26, 27, because 
they are inseparable companions ; so that if thy name be written 
in the book of life, thy nature would be renewed to live a spiritual 
life, 2 Tim. i. 9 ; 1 Pet. i. 2. Therefore, reader, if ever thou reachest 
heaven in this estate of unholiness, thou must make a blot not only 
in the Bible, but in the book of life. 

2. All that go to heaven must go through the gate of Christ's 
passion : ' There is no name under heaven given among men by 
which we may be saved, but the name of Jesus Christ,' Acts iv. 12. 
And it is the death of Christ which purchaseth eternal life for 
Christians ; as the sown seed by dying bringeth forth a plentiful 
increase, so Christ by dying ' bringeth many sons to glory,' John 
xii. 24; Heb. ii. 10; but this grace is shut against thee, for those 
for whom Christ purchased glory, for them he purchased grace. 
The Son of God laid down the same price for both ; so that if 
ever he deliver thee from the condemning power of sin, he will de- 
liver thee from the commanding power of sin : Tit. ii. 14, ' He 
gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and 
purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works ; ' so 
Luke i. 71, 72, 74, 75 ; Ephes. v. 25, 26, ' He gave himself for his 
church,' (observe the end,) ' that he might sanctify and cleanse it.' 
He died for sin, that all his might die to sin, John xvii. 19. He 
poured out his heart-blood that God might pour down his holy 
Spirit. ' His name is called Jesus, because he saveth his people 
from their sins,' Matt. i. 21, not only from the punishment, but 
also from the power of their sins. Now, canst thou think, 
atheist ! to make Christ a half Saviour, as the Papists do, a 
purchaser of pardon, but not of purity ? then questionless thou 
canst be but half-saved, and have the greatest part of thy misery 
still upon thee, to wit, thy slavery to sin. But surely thou canst 
not think, that when justification and sanctification are joined to- 
gether in the purpose of the Father, and the purchase of the Son, 
it shall be in thy power to part them asunder. 

3. A third gate through which all must go that get to heaven 
is the gate of Scripture. The promises are the gracious deeds and 


evidences which saints have to show for their right to that glorious 
inheritance ; and it is cursed presumption to expect heaven without 
a promise. Now God hath in many places excluded thee, but in 
no place promised heaven to thee. Look from the beginning to 
the end of the Bible, and thou shalt not find one good word spoken 
to thee ; there are woes and curses, threatenings and judgments, 
which thou maj'est challenge as thy part and portion, but no pro- 
mise or saving blessing. 

All the promises of salvation are conditional, Matt. v. 8, 11, 28 ; 
John iii. IG ; yea, including and expressing this very condition of 
conversion. ' He that believeth shall be saved,' saith God, Mark 
xvi. 16. ' And repent, that your sins may be blotted out,' 
Acts. iii. 19. The body and soul do specifically constitute the 
whole new man, and upon those two hinges of faith and repent- 
ance do all the saving promises in the Bible hang ; therefore thy 
expectance of the promise, without the performance of the condi- 
tion, is soul-damning delusion ; thou mayest like a dog snatch at the 
children's bread, the promise, but assure thyself, ' thou hast no lot 
nor part in these matters.' 

This, reader, is the difference betwixt presuming and believing ; 
he that believeth, finding in his own soul the conditions mentioned 
in the promises of eternal life — as, namely, that he walks after the 
spirit, mortifieth the deeds of the flesh, hath his conversation in 
heaven, Kom. viii. 1, Phil. iii. 19, and the like — relieth on Christ 
for pardon and life, upon the warrant and security of his word and 
promise, Psal. cxix. 114, 145. He that presume th, looketh that 
God should perform his part in giving salvation, but never mindeth 
whether he perform his part of the promise in observing the con- 
dition. Let thy conscience be judge whether thou art not such 
a presumptuous person, and therefore dost in vain look for the 
fruit of the promise. 

4. All that get to heaven must go through the gate of mediate 
communion. Heaven must be nigh thee before thou canst be in 
heaven ; it is fellowship with God in this world which fitteth for 
fellowship with God in the other world : ' Without holiness none 
shall see God,' Heb. xii. 14. Because without holiness none can 
see God ; an unholy mind cannot behold him, an unholy will can- 
not enjoy him, unholy affections cannot delight in him. An unholy 
man in heaven could not find it a place of happiness, for it is not a 
Turkish paradise, but a place of holy pleasures ; it is mediate com- 
munion which doth capacitate the soul for immediate communion ; 
and as the weaker eyes may behold the sun in its beams, then in 

Chap. IV.] by the key of regeneration. 45 

its glorious body at the highest in a clear day, so a smaller degree 
of holiness will enable the soul to see God in the glass of his 
ordinances, then to see him face to face. Now, thou canst not en- 
joy him in this imperfect degree, much less in a state of perfection: 
' If thou sayest that thou hast fellowship with him, and walkest in 
darkness, thou liest,' 1 John i. 6. Mark : if thou sayest that thou 
enjoyest fellowship with God, and leadest a sinful life, thou tellest 
a broad lie ; all that enjoy the ordinances of God do not enjoy the 
God of ordinances ; all that go to church do not meet with Christ : 
' What communion hath light with darkness, or Christ with 
Belial ? ' Truly no more hath God with thy soul. Princes are not 
so prodigal of their intimate friendship and favour as to throw 
them away upon their foes. Thy carnal mind is enmity against 
God ; God is a professed enemy to thee, and therefore can they 
ever walk together till they be agreed ? Now, there is a necessity 
of walking with him before thou canst be translated to him, 
G-en. V. 21, or else thou hast found out a nearer way to heaven 
than the children of God went in. 

Besides, the Scripture speaketh plainly, that he who hath a true 
hope of heaven ' doth purify himself as God is pure,' 1 John iii. 3. 
True hope begetteth and increaseth holiness. Now, doth thy 
hope cause thee to purify thyself, when, like an infant, thou 
pollutest thyself, liest contentedly in thy filth, and never mindest 
cleansing ? 

Now tell me, reader, whether thou dost not sadly cozen thyself 
in dreaming of salvation without regeneration, when God pre- 
destinated all to be conformable to the image of his Son in glory, 
Kom. viii. 29 ; when Jesus Christ suffered not only to procure 
pardon, but, for all his, freedom from the power of sin ; when the 
promises of the gospel do express regeneration as the indispensable 
qualification of all that shall be saved. Acts iii. 19 ; and when 
thou art so far from being capable of immediate communion here- 
after, that it is impossible that thou shouldest in thy carnal estate 
have mediate communion with him here ? Canst thou continue in 
thy thoughts that heaven shall be open to thee, when the hand of 
Almighty God hath shut it against thee, and blocked up every 
way which leads to it to keep thee out ? and how deceitfully and 
desperately wicked is thy heart to promise thee, if thou wilt serve 
sin and the world, the beautiful Rachel of heaven, when, after all 
thy slavery to thy lusts, thou shalt be put off with the blear-eyed 
Leah of hell ! Believe not, reader, the wicked one, if thou lovest 
the life of thy soul ; he may by his lying spirit in thy heart, as 


sometimes in the mouth of Ahab's false prophets, persuade thee to go 
on in thy sinful courses, and promise thee, as he did Ahab, that thou 
shalt prosper ; but if thou dost not perish if thou followest such 
counsel, the Lord hath not spoken in his word. I tell thee, man, 
God hath no birthrights for such profane Esaus, nor inheritances 
for such scoffing Ishmaels ; ' depart from me,' will be the doom of 
all that are ' workers of iniquity,' Matt. vii. 23. ' Into heaven 
can in no wise enter anything that is unclean,' Kev. xxi. 27. The 
earth may bear such wicked ones a while, though not without 
groans to be eased of such burdens, Eom. viii. 22, but heaven will 
never be pestered with them. 

If thou didst travel towards the west, thy reason would tell thee 
there was no possibility of arriving at the east without turning 
about; yet thou goest in the broad way to destruction, and thy 
religion bids thee not to expect heaven without conversion. Well, 
see what God saith to thee, and be confident that what he speaketh 
he will do: Deut. xxix. 19, 20, 'And it come to pass, when he 
heareth the word of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, 
saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imaginations of 
my heart, to add drunkenness to thirst : The Lord will not spare 
him, but the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against 
that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie 
upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.' 
O look to it, friend, before it be too late, otherwise this rock of 
presumption will sj)lit thee eternally ; for Christ himself hath said 
that, ' except thou art born again, thou shalt never see the 
kino^dom of God.' 


Shelving the insufficiency of ten particulars to speak a Christians 
right to heaven. 

Secondly, If without regeneration it be impossible to attain 
salvation, it informeth us of the insufficiency of several things to 
speak a man's right to felicity. For this is a certain truth, that 
whatsoever cometh short of this new birth, or whatsoever may 
happen to, or be in a man unregenerate, that is a false evidence 
for our title to the undefiled inheritance, because regeneration is 
absolutely necessary. 

Now, there are nine or ten sandy foundations which many build 

Chap. V.] by the key of regeneration. 47 

their hopes upon, all which come short of regeneration, (though 
most of them are good things, for I speak not against them, but 
against resting in them as infallible signs of sincerity,) and there- 
fore, when the storm of death cometh, they will fail, and then the 
house of their hopes will fall to the ground. 

First, Civil practices are but a slender evidence of thy right to 
the holy place. Civility is commendable, but without sanctity it 
is not sufficient. A mere civil and sanctified man differ as much 
as a lifeless picture and a living person. Thou mayest make a fair 
show in the flesh, and be wholly a stranger to this life after the 
Spirit. Paul was one of the strictest of the Pharisees, concerning 
the righteousness of the law blameless, even then when he was out 
of zeal persecuting the church, and in an unregenerate estate, Phil. 
iii. 6. Those foolish persons that were denied entrance into the 
purchased possession were virgins ; they walked innocently and 
inoffensively, and had not defiled their garments with gross pollu- 
tions, but yet were unconverted, having (though some in their 
lamps) no oil in their vessels. Mat. xxv. 1, and therefore were 
excluded the inheritance of the saints in light. 

The young rich man who came to Christ and told him that he 
had kept all the commandments from his youth, Mark x. 20, 
probably had done much as to the outward meaning of the law and 
to the outward motions of his life ; for Jesus, beholding him, loved 
him, ver. 21 ; and yet the man, notwithstanding his specious ac- 
tions, had unsanctified affections, otherwise he would never have 
run from Christ as heavily as he came to him hastily, and put his 
corruptible silver into the scales with, and suffered it to weigh 
down, the incomparable Saviour, ver. 22 ; the Pharisee that boasted 
so much of himself was likely guiltless of scandalous sins : Luke 
xviii. 11, ' Grod, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, 
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.' His 
religion, as usually the civilian's, consisted in negatives ; he thought 
all was well because he could say he was no fornicator, no cheater 
of men ; but he might have added that he was no believer, no child 
of God ; for all his fair pretences and splendid practices he was both 
an unjust and unsanctified person, ver. 14, 

How often doth sin reign in the inward when it doth not rage in 
the outward man ! A king is as truly a king in his bed-chamber 
and closet in secret as in his parliament robes or on his throne in 
public. Now, where sin hath dominion, there the man or woman 
is in a carnal condition, Kom. vi. 17. 

How did vice domineer in the hearts of the heathen, when nothing 


but virtue appeared in their faces ! Pride in Diogenes, saith one, 
was but put up in a sloven's case v^^hen he trampled on Plato's 
carpets ; and that renowned Curius, that supped on roots, had am- 
bition for his sauce. Civility may arise from education, example, 
shame, or fear ; but as neither of these is physic strong enough to 
purge out corruption, but as weak remedies use to do, so these 
lenitives give more mastery to the disease. 

Among beasts there are harmless lambs as well as hurtful lions ; 
among birds there are innocent doves as well as ravenous vultures ; 
and yet they have all the same specifical nature of brutes. Among 
men some have better nurture, and (possibly from thence) better 
natures than others ; some are churlish and cruel, others courteous 
and civil ; some mild and morally righteous, others mad and 
desperately outrageous ; and yet all may flow from the same human 
nature. As the same earth is in some plants bitter, in others sweet, 
in both earthly ; so the same human nature may be in some more 
pleasing, in others more poisonous, in both but human, neither 
being partaker of the divine nature. Some are like swine in a fair 
meadow, more cleanly ; others wallowing in the mire, more dirty ; 
and both swine. Our civil law saith of mixed beasts, elephants 
and camels, that they do the work of tame beasts, but have the 
nature of wild ones. Such are our mere civil men ; their nature 
is wild though their actions are tame. The bear, as is reported, 
bringeth forth most ugly and misshapen whelps, but by licking them, 
brings them to a better form ; yet they are bears still. Thus all 
men are ugly and notoriously vile by their births, all full of wicked- 
ness as the ocean is of waters ; good breeding, learning, living 
among them that are godly, may lick them fair and civil, and put 
them into a better form, and yet still they may remain unsanctified. 
The lions which spared Daniel were lions still, as appeared by their 
devouring others, though Grod did restrain them a while for the 
safety of his servant. A water-course may be dammed up or 
stopped by a bank, though at the same time it hath a violent 
inclination to run over. I have sometime thought that a mere 
civil man is like a Capuchin friar, that starteth back at the sight 
of money, as if it were a snake or serpent, but carrieth a boy along 
with him that takes all which the demure friar refuseth, and com- 
plains neither of colour nor weight ; so the civil man in his life 
starts back from sin, as if he durst not touch that venomous crea- 
ture, but he carrieth a heart along with him that receiveth in all, 
(having no porter to examine who goetli in or out,) and without 
complaining either of colour or weight. 

Chap. V.] by the key of regeneration. 49 

Reader, it may be thou art no drunkard, no swearer, no scoffer 
at godliness, no adulterer, no liar. I wish we had more that came 
so far towards heaven. But take heed of resting here ; thou mayest 
be able to say all this and much more, and yet in thee, as in the 
young man, there may be one thing lacking, namely, this new life. 
He that went to make his picture stand alone saw at last his mis- 
take, and cried out, Deest aliquid intus, ' there is something want- 
ing within," he meant life : so it may be in thee. Believe it, there 
is a vast difference betwixt restraining and renewing grace ; the 
former may skin over and cover the loathsome sore of sin, when 
the latter doth search and cure it. Civility, like a black patch, 
doth hide the wound ; but sanctity, like a plaster, doth both hide 
and heal it. It is possible that thou dost not outwardly abound 
with the same corruptions which others do, because thou hast not 
the same temptations. Thy heart may be a vessel full of poisonous 
liquor, which may remain undiscovered till thou hast a temptation 
to broach it. Thy lusts may be as great rebels against God, 
though they lie lurking in the secret trenches of thy heart, and 
dare not for fear or shame appear in the open field of thy life. 

Thy civility is a mercy, and thou art bound to bless God for it. 
But take heed of trusting to it as a sure evidence of thy good 
estate, for certainly it proveth not seldom a more neat and cleanly 
way to endless and easeless woe. 

Secondly, A glorious profession is no infallible evidence of thy 
right to life. It is good to profess Christianity. Religion is so 
noble, so bountiful a master, that none need be afraid to be counted 
her servant. We must confess Christ before men, if we would 
have Christ to confess us before his Father and the holy angels, 
Mat. X. 31. He that disowns his colours deserves to be cashiered 
the camp. But confession of the mouth must be accompanied 
with conversion of the heart, or it will not save ; that is but the 
shadow, this is the substance of religion. A Christian in name 
and a Christian in nature do exceedingly differ. The profession 
and the power of godliness differ, as leaves on a tree and good 
fruit ; a tree that hath fruit will have leaves ; a man that hath the 
power will have a form of godliness ; but as some trees, as the ivy, 
are never without leaves, yet never bear good fruit while they live, 
so many profess Christ all their days, who never bring forth fruit 
worthy of repentance and amendment of life. Some defy the devil 
with their lips who deify him in their lives. There may be gaudy 
signs at the door, where there is not a drop of good wine in the 
cellar. Apothecaries' boxes have glorious titles, even when they 

VOL. V. D 


are altogether empty. Many Christians in our days are like a 
curious bubble, smooth and shining without, but nothing save wind 
within ; ' professing that they know God, but in works they deny 
him, being abominable, disobedient, and to every good work repro- 
bate,' Tit. i. 16. A man may wear Christ's livery and do the 
devil's drudgery. Judas called Jesus master, yet betrayed him. 
Thou mayest, like the Jews, put a crown on Christ's head, a sceptre 
in his hand, and bow the knee to him as if he were tliy king, and 
yet all be but in mockery ; thou mayest crucify and put him to 
death, for all this, by thy sinful ungodly life. Silver looketh white, 
and yet draweth black lines ; thy profession may be fair when thy 
practices are foul. Sin is so ugly that it is ashamed of the light, 
and therefore walks not openly, as Christ, for fear of the people, 
though for a different reason from his, lest it should fright them 
from continuing its friend ; but as a thief it goeth abroad in the 
night, and then with vizards and false beards, unwilling to be 
known who they are, even with a form of godliness, 1 Tim. iii. 1-5. 
A hypocrite, like a bankrupt, the less substance he hath, the more 
shew he maketh. The ostrich hath great feathers, but cannot fly. 
Christ compareth him to a tomb, which is without comely, within 

Good doth not always appear with the same beauty, being 
clouded with corruption ; so evil doth seldom appear in its native 
deformity, but like Jezebel, fills up the wrinkles of its face with 
artificial daubery. When Absalom intended his unnatural rebel- 
lion, he pretended religion ; he had a vow which he must pay, 2 
Sam. XV. 7. When Simeon and Levi designed murder and death 
to the Shechemites, they hang out devotion for their colours : ' They 
may not marry their sister to one that was uncircumcised,' Gen. 
xxxiv. 14. Thus many lead religion about as wandering cheaters 
do a monstrous woman, whom they no way affect, merely to get 
money by it, for their own praise or profit, but do not entertain her 
as their mistress, giving her the power and keys of their hearts. 

When religion is in fashion, many will dress themselves by her 
looking-glass ; Joab himself, though a man of blood, will learn her 
language ; see how exactly he speaks in her dialect, 1 Cliron. xix. 
13. If the Jews prospered, the Samaritans and they were kindred. 
The rising sun is adored by the Persians. Summer brings in not 
only herbs and fruits, but butterflies and caterpillars which feed on 
them, and attire themselves with the livery of the season : so in the 
prosperous estate of religion many summer birds will wait on her, 
and court her out of love to her portion, not to her person ; but 

Chap. V.] by the key of regeneration. 51 

these like pirates put their vessels into colours of nations which 
thej abhor, not to serve them faithfully, but to rob them the more 
easil)^ ; as Sanballat and Tobiali made show to help, when their 
aim was to hinder the Jews. And truly such a lamp or blazing 
profession will quickly go out for want of oil in the vessel, this in- 
ward regeneration. Thy rotten house will fall, when these earthly 
props of treasure of honours which shroud it up, are taken away : 
like the moon thou mayest shine brightly the former part of the 
night, but set before morning. 

The hare, when she is hotly pursued, betakes herself to some 
beaten path, not for any love she hath to it, but that there by the 
scent of passengers she may lose her scent, and take off the dogs : 
so many profane persons that have robbed the state, being pursued, 
betake themselves to the church path, not for devotion, but that they 
might lose the scent of their vileness, and take off their prosecutors. 

Thy profession, reader, is one of the weakest foundations imagin- 
able to build upon, for thy practices may every hour give thy pro- 
fession the lie. The Pope professeth himself the servant of ser- 
vants, and yet even then ' exalteth himself above all that is called 
God,' 2 Thes. ii. 4. And he that professeth himself so humble as 
to do service to the meanest Christian, is yet so proud as to take 
merit from Christ himself Every one that is clothed in black is 
not a scholar, nor every one that wears a sword a soldier ; neither 
is every professor a true and upright believer. Pharnaces sent a 
crown to C^sar, when at the same time he rebelled against him ; 
but Caesar sent back the crown, with this message. Let him return 
to his obedience first, and then I will accept the crown : thus God 
will not be graced with our crowns of profession, unless that be 
crowned with a gracious conversation ; ' He is not a Jew which is 
one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the 
flesh ; but he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and circumcision is 
that in the heart, whose praise is not of men but of God,' Rom. ii. 
28, 29. 

Thirdly, spiritual privileges are no sure sign that thine eternal 
estate is safe ; we read of them that were ' Israelites, to whom per- 
tained the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, 
and the service of God, and the promises ; whose were the fathers, 
of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God 
blessed for ever,' Rom. ix. 4, 5 ; and yet many of them perished 
notwithstanding all these great privileges. Paul had glorious privi- 
leges when he was a graceless person, Phil. iii. 5, 6. Thou mayest 
enjoy sermons, sacraments. Sabbaths, seasons of grace, the society 


of saints, and yet miss at last of salvation. All that are in a family 
are not children, though they possibly feed at the same table, and 
lodge in the same chamber. All that enjoy church ministry are 
not church members ; Doeg may set his foot within the house of 
God as far as David, Judas may partake of the same privileges 
with the apostles, and yet be a devil ; the outward court was larger 
than the inner ; and so God's visible church takes more in than his 
invisible. Tares may be in the same field with wheat, enjoying 
the same benefit of the sun, rain, and earth, and yet are tares still. 
The Jews boasted much that they were Abraham's children, Mat. 
iii., and yet truth itself tells them that they were of their father 
the devil, John viii. 44. ' Circumcision is nothing, nor uncircum- 
cision, but a new creature,' Gal. vi. 15. Where the new creation 
is wanting, spiritual privileges are but as seals to a blank, and sig- 
nify little. Regeneration is the figure which is missing ; they, as 
cyphers, stand for nothing. 

The voice of many among us now is like to the voice of the Jews 
heretofore, 1 Sam. iv. 3, in time of their distress : ' Bring us the 
ark,' say they, ' that that may save us,' when, alas, they were de- 
stroyed by the Philistines for all their ark : so thou reader, when 
conscience frightetli thee, or death comes nigh thee, probably speak- 
est in thy heart, come bring me the ark, that that may save me ; 
bring me the sacrament, that shall save me ; thou runnest to thy 
baptism, to thy Sabbath, to privileges, and thence concludest that 
thou canst not be condemned ; when, alas, thou mayest go to hell- 
fire for all thy font-water, and to eternal torments though thou hast 
often been at the Lord's table, Mat. vii. 22. Baptismal water is 
not even the laver of regeneration ; many sit at the Lord's table 
which do not taste of his supper. All in the church may hear the 
word of Christ, but few hear Christ in his word. It is ordinary to 
enjoy the Sabbath of the Lord, but not so to enjoy the Lord of 
Sabbaths. Outward privileges are of great value in themselves, 
but like a jewel wdiich some speak of, they lose their virtue if put 
into a dead man's mouth ; they are of no efficacy or benefit to thy 
soul whilst thou continuest dead in trespasses and sin : unregenerate 
Israel was to God as Ethiopia, Amos ix. 7, for all their privileges ; 
Gentiles regenerated are called Jews, Gal. vi. 16; and Jews unre- 
generated are called Gentiles, Amorites, Hittites, Sodomites, Ezek. 
xvi. 3 ; Hosea xii. 7 ; Isa. i. x. 

Spiritual privileges always commend God to us, but not us to 
God. Their abuse will be a dreadful increase of thy damnation, 
but their bare use will be a pitiful plea for salvation. How many 

Chap. V.] by the key of regeneration. 53 

live all their days under the means of grace, that never get one 
dram of grace in the use of the means ! Corazin, Bethsaida, and 
Capernaum, who had the privilege to hear Christ's oracles, and to 
see his miracles, were sad seals to these truths. Mat. xi. ; for they 
were lighted to the chambers of utter darkness with the torches of 
ordinances. Rest not in this, reader, for thou mayest be lifted up 
to heaven in the enjoyment of privileges, and cast down to hell for 
misimprovement of them. Thou mayest, like the Decii, leap into 
the gaping gulf at noon-day ; or, like the Egyptians, follow the pil- 
lar of fire into the deep, and perish ; nay, which is saddest of all, 
as a ship which is sinking, the more it is laden, though it be with 
silver and gc>lfl, the deeper it sinketh : so the higher thy privileges, 
if thou perishest, the deeper thy perdition. Thou mayest fly like 
Joab to the altar of privileges, but if thou art unregenerate, he that 
is greater than Solomon, will pluck thee thence, or slay thee there. 
The unsuitableness of thy life to the discoveries of his love, doth 
but tell him to his face that thou art not careful to answer him in 
his matters ; that thou wilt not serve his Son, nor worship the me- 
diator whom he hath set up, and hereby thou dost but (notwith- 
standing thy preferment) provoke him the more, and cause him, as 
Nebuchadnezzar the oven, to heat hell seven times hotter: thy 
privileges, like oil and pitch, will make that fire to scald and scorch 
the more terribly. Weeds in the garden are sooner plucked up 
than weeds in the highway. No trees are more surely for the fire 
than those which are planted in God's own vineyard and bear no 

Fourthly, great gifts and parts will not speak thy right to glory. 
Edifying gifts and sanctifying grace do abundantly differ. Thou 
mayest have a clear head, and yet an unclean heart. We read of 
them that were famous for gifts and parts, and infamous for pro- 
faneness ; who might preach profitably, and yet were workers of 
iniquity ; who had the gift of casting out devils, and for all that, 
were cast to devils. Mat. vii. 22, 23. Ministers may, like Noah's 
carpenters, build an ark to save others, and be drowned, be damned 
themselves : they may carry a lantern which may enlighten others, 
while they go in the dark themselves : thou mayest, as a landmark, 
direct others in the right way, and never set a foot thyself in it. 
How holily did Balaam prophesy, and yet how hellishly did he 
practise ! surely, like a burning-glass, he hath fired many others by 
his heavenly language, yet he himself never fired. Many have gifts 
from God who never have the gift of God, John iv, 10. The raven 
was an unclean creature, yet she was serviceable to zealous Elijah. 


Gifts may be in their eminency where sin is in its predomi- 
nancy. The toad hath a pearl, say some, in its head, when the 
whole body is poisonous. The devil can speak excellently : ' We 
know thee, thou art the holy One of God ; ' and ' these are the 
servants of the most high God.' For natural parts and gifts, ques- 
tionless he surpasseth all men on earth, and yet he is a devil still. 
The panther hath a sweet-scented breath, but a rotten heart. It is 
possible to pray like a saint, to preach like an angel, and yet to 
practise like a devil. The course of thy life will speak much 
more for thee than the discourse of thy lips. Though thy gifts be 
never so great, and thy parts never so glorious ; though thou 
speakest with the tongue of men and angels, and hast not grace — 
— this new birth — thou art like sounding brass and a tinkling 

Thy parts may flow from nature, not from saving grace. Men, 
indeed, as blades, are all made of the same metal, yet differ much by 
means of temper ; some are more soft and smooth, more keen and 
sharp ; others more dull and blunt, more stiff and stubborn ; for 
though it be confessed the soul of Solomon, as created and infused, 
diflfereth nothing from the soul of Nabal, yet being to work by 
bodily organs, her actions resemble her instruments. A man can- 
not make such good letters with a blotting, scragged, as with a good 
pen. The better the tool is, the better the work is done with it. 
Some children take more after their parents than others. Though 
nature hath little to give, yet she deals more bountifully with 
some than with others.* 

Now what a gross mistake is this, for thee to take the crabs, 
which grow in the common hedgerows of nature, to be fruits of the 
Spirit, as if they grew in God's own nursery ! Knowest thou not 
that the false prophets were admired by men for their parts, and 
abhorred by God for their impiety ? 

Friend, thou mayest, like the ten spies, go over the promised 
land in thy contemplations, view the country, taste the fruit, and 
commend it highly to others, tell them that the land is good, it 
floweth with milk and honey, and for all this never enjoy one foot 
of it. Parts and piety difl'er specifically. Gifts, like the moon, have 
some glimmering borrowed light, but no enlivening heat ; when 
grace, like the sun, hath a clearer native light, and a quickening 
refreshing heat. Men, indeed, like the true mother, may have 
the dead child of gifts put into their arms, whilst they are asleep 
in the night of this life, and think that they have the living child 
of grace ; but when they awake in the morning of death, they 

Chap. Y.] by the key of regeneration. 55 

will find the contrary. For thougli thy gifts glister like glow-worms 
in the dark night of this world, yet, if separated from grace, in the 
day of the other world they will all vanish and disappear. then 
it will be known that one dram of grace is more worth than a 
Tvorld of gifts. 

Fifthly, Thy sacred performances are not a sufficient evidence 
for heaven. Observe, reader, I shall not condemn, nay, I do highly 
commend thy external obedience to the divine precepts, though 
thou shouldst be unregenerate, because few come so far. Athana- 
sius wished that all were hypocrites, and that there were none but 
such as at least resembled saints. It is good to wait at the pool. 
Christ may come, as he did to the cripple, and heal thy diseased 
soul. It may be as much worth as thy eternal weal to lie as the 
blind man did, in Christ's way ; he may speak and begin such a 
spiritual sight in thee, as may end in seeing God as he is. But I 
am now telling thee, that it is ill trusting to bare duties as signs of 
thy salvation ; for thou mayest mind personal, relative, secret, family, 
public duties, and yet be unregenerate and perisli. He that doth 
not these things is certainly not good, but he that doth them cannot 
thence conclude his estate to be gracious. 

Thou must do all as to the outside which a saint can do, or thou 
canst not be an hypocrite — for an hypocrite is the perfect picture 
of a godly person. Now, because an hypocrite which is unregene- 
rate may go so far, therefore these things are not sure signs of sav- 
ing grace. 

The pharisees gave alms, made long prayers, fasted, (and some 
of them twice in a week,) and yet you know what Christ saith — 
that except our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the 
scribes and pharisees, we should not inherit the kingdom of God, 
Mat. V. 20. They were — some especially — so frequent at their 
duties towards God, so righteous in their dealings with men to the 
eyes of others, that tlie Jews had a common saying, that if but two 
in the world should be saved, the one should be a scribe, the other 
a pharisee. And yet, if thou wilt believe the Lord Jesus, he that 
goes not beyond them both, shall come short of heaven : and the 
reason is plain — because they were not regenerated. Their prac- 
tices were seemingly good, but their principles really bad. The 
tree was corrupt, and therefore could not bring forth good fruit, 
Mat. vii. 17. The Israelites did seek God daily, saith the prophet ; 
they delighted to know his ways ; they asked of him the ordinances 
of justice, and they delighted in approaching to him, Isa. Iviii. 2. They 
there heard and prayed, and both with seeming delight ; nay, they 


joined fasting to prayer, ver. 3 ; further, they add mourning to fast- 
ing, Zech. vii. 4, 5. And yet all this was but the face, the shell, the 
appearance of religion, and thereby of no acceptance with God. If 
any beast were sacrificed by heathens without an heart, it was ac- 
counted ominous to the person for whom it was offered, as in the 
case of Julian. Now all the sacrifices of hypocrites are without 
a heart, Isa. xxix. 30. 

It is recorded that in a certain island to the southward of Cele- 
bes, night by night among the trees do shew themselves swarms of 
fiery worms, which make a show, and give such light as if all the 
twigs of the trees were lighted candles, and the place the starry 
sphere; and yet all this is but an appearance. Truly thus formal 
persons may seem by their duties both lightsome and fiery, and yet 
be but a semblance and flourish. 

Low, moorish grounds bring forth some coarse grass, but it is 
from springs from below ; when the high meadows bring forth fine 
grass, being fed with the clouds from above. The hypocrite may 
bring forth some coarse fruit, (as Egypt from the overflowing of 
Nilus,) from the earthly springs, and the overflowing of a natural 
conscience, which will be by no means pacified when duties are 
omitted ; but the regenerate man bringeth forth better fruits : 
like Canaan, he floweth with milk and honey, being fed with the 
showers of heaven, and watered with the dews of divine grace. 

Thou mayest imitate the actions of a gracious man, yet be with- 
out grace ; as the ape imitateth the actions of reasonable men, yet 
is without reason ; or as a tragedian acteth the part of a passionate 
man, but is all the while without passion. Some men have wrought 
hard at duties, when a naturally enlightened conscience, not God, 
hath been the master to set them on work. They would, but can- 
not, neglect duties at so cheap a rate as others, as he said, Sollici- 
tor nullos esse putare Dcos — I could find in my heart to find there 
were no God, but could not. As they say of the wolf in the body, 
if you feed not it, it will feed on you. So if conscience, when its 
mouth is opened, should not be fed with duty, it would feed on 
them ; and therefore, to keep it from gnawing them, they stop its 
mouth with performances, though they never do them from a re- 
newed principle. Do not, therefore, reader, hang the weight of thy 
soul upon such weak wires, since men do so ordinarily take the 
way of duties no otherwise than Ahaziah did the way of the 
garden-house, 2 Kings ix. 27, merely for necessity, to escape an 
enemy that followed him, wherein he was at length pursued and 

Chap, V.] by the key of regenekation. 57 

Eemigius, a judge of Lorraine, telletli us how tlie devil gave 
some in those parts money which at first appeared to be good coin ; 
but being laid up, and when need was, taken out to be spent, it 
proved to be nothing but dry leaves. Eeader, I wish it may not be 
so, but it is possible for thee to drive a great trade in duties while 
thou livest, to hoard up a great heap of those riches, and they may 
seem to be current coin, good silver, to have the image and stamp 
of the King of heaven upon it ; but when thou comest to die, that 
thou art to spend it — for then thy works will follow thee, and 
God will give thee according to thy works — it may then prove 
but dry leaves, of no worth or profit to thee. Though these un- 
sound bottoms hold out well enough in a fair sea, when they are 
put to no stress, yet stormy weather will quickly discover their 

Not a few take up duties because they were educated in such a 
religious manner, not from any relish or savour which they find in 
them ; and truly, it will be an easy matter to part him and his 
work wlio never took any pleasure in it. 

The stone for a time may, against its nature, be mounted up- 
ward, but when the force of that impressed virtue which moved it is 
spent, it will fall downward according to its nature. Partridges 
that are hatched under a hen may walk with her, and answer her 
call for a time, but anon they fly away, and shew what they are. 
Eeader, I write not these things to dishearten thee from duties, 
which are the body of religion, but to quicken thee to mind regene- 
ration, which is the soul of it. 

Sixthly, The commendation of others, though they be real saints, 
will not prove thee to be in a state of salvation. The holiest man's 
confidence of thee is a pitiful evidence that thou shalt be happy. 
How many have there been in the city who made a great noise, 
were cried up by their knowing judicious neiglibours to be very 
rich, and to be worth thousands, when on a sudden we have heard 
of their breaking, and being worse, as we say, than nought. So 
many, even by them which are godly and discerning, may be 
counted rich in grace, rich towards God, and on a sudden, either 
by some temptation, or at their dissolutions, they break, and God 
takes away from them that they seemed to have. How was good 
David mistaken in Ahithophel ! Surely he thought him God's 
favourite, otherwise he would never have made him his familiar and 
bosom friend : ' It was thou, man, mine equal, my friend, and 
my acquaintance ; we took sweet counsel together, and walked to 
the house of God in company,' Ps. Iv. 12-14. 


How was Simon Peter deceived in Simon Magus, who believed, 
wondered at the miracles which were wrought, and was baptized ; 
but notwithstanding that, was in the gall of bitterness, and bond of 
iniquity. Acts viii. 13, 20. 

How was holy Paul mistaken in Demas ! ' Luke, the beloved 
physician, and Demas, greet you,' Col. iv. 14 ; there he ranks him 
with one that was eminently religious ; but Philemon, ver. 24, he 
puts him before Luke, and calls him his fellow-labourer ; yet 2 Tim. 
iv. 10, which epistle was the last of all Paul's epistles, ' Demas hath 
forsaken me, having embraced this present world ; ' he turned, as 
some write, idol-priest ; he followed the chase till he met with the 
honey, and, Jonathan-like, then left the pursuit. 

How much were all the holy apostles deceived in Judas ! If 
Peter, as their mouth, speaks of their faith, Judas is included : John 
vi. 69, ' We believe and are sure that thou art Christ, the Son of 
the living God.' When he speaks of their good works, Judas is 
not excepted : ' Behold we have forsaken all, and followed thee,' 
Mat. xix. 27. Further, when a traitor is mentioned, Judas is not 
suspected ; his carriage was so fair that they were more jealous of 
their own hearts than of him, Mat. xxvi. 22, and yet he was a 
traitor, a devil. Infallibility was never annexed to the godly 
man's choice. 

D^dalus made an image that moved itself by art, which made 
the spectators believe that it had a living principle ; the hypocrite 
may walk so exactly, perform duties so devoutly, that saints may 
judge such motions to flow from a principle of spiritual life. 
Because men have the exact resemblance of Christians, therefore 
godly men, who are charitable abroad and censorious at home, 
judge them to be true Christians. Now in regard there may be a 
resemblance of a Christian in external actions, where there is not 
the essence of Christianity in internal sanctified affections, therefore 
they, though they sin not, yet sometimes they err in their judgments. 

1 Sam. xvi. 6, 7. When Samuel came to Jesse, being sent to 
anoint a king, and seeth Eliab, a proper handsome person, he pre- 
sently crieth out, ' Surely the Lord's anointed is before me ;' but mark 
what Grod saith, ' Look not on his countenance, nor the height of his 
stature, for I have rejected him ; for God seeth not as man seeth ; 
for man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on 
the heart.' So when godly men see their neighbours lovely in their 
lives, civil in their practices, high in their jjrofession, strict in per- 
formances, they, according to their duty, say, inwardly at least, 
surely the Lord's anointed is before him ; these are the blessed of 

Chap. V.] by the key of regeneration. 59 

tlie Lord, anointed to the kingdom of heaven ; but God may often 
answer them, look not on their profession or their performances, 
for I see their hearts, that they serve not me, but themselves of me. 
"We read of Zeiixis, the painter, that he drew grapes so to the 
life, that he deceived the birds, who came flying to them, and peck- 
ing at them as if they had been real grapes. Certainly a graceless 
man may have such a complete form of godliness, that those who 
are gracious cannot but judge it to be accompanied with the power, 
when, indeed, it is but the picture. When there was a famine in 
Samaria, a scarcity of good food, the fourth part of a cab of dove's 
dung, which might be the quantity of a pint, was sold for five pieces 
of silver, twelve shillings and sixpence of our money ; observe at 
what a high rate that which was nothing worth was valued at in 
a famine. Truly so, there is such a scarcity of true godliness, that 
godly men, who exceedingly long for the advancement of Christ 
and Christianity in men's hearts and houses, prize and encourage 
anything that cometh near it, that looketh like it, or hath any 
tendency towards it : ' But that which is highly esteemed of men 
may be abominable in the sight of God,' Luke xvi. 15. 

Keader, do not thou, as some tradesmen, live altogether on thy 
credit with others. The most cunning takers of money that are, 
though they take notice of every piece, are sometimes deceived, 
and take bad money, such as will never endure the touchstone, for 
good coin. What a poor comfort will it be to thee, when thou art 
hungry and naked, that others think and speak that thou art fed 
and clothed ! He that trades highly, and lives wholly upon trust, 
seldom holds out long ; look, therefore, not so much at others' com- 
mendation, but at thine own regeneration, for that is it alone which 
accompanieth salvation. It is a favour that thou dost so walk as 
to have godly men's good word ; but for all that thou mayest be a 
stranger to this regenerating work, and then it is not the wind of 
their breaths that can blow thy soul to the haven of bliss. 

Seventhly, Thy confidence of thy own good estate is no infallible 
evidence. The world, as they are mistaken in repentance, taking 
it to be only a little sorrow for sin, though no aversion from it, or 
detestation of it, be joined with it ; so they are also in the nature 
of faith, esteeming it to consist in the strength of persuasion, and 
that whoever can be confident that Christ died for him, and that 
he shall go to heaven, doth believe unto salvation ; whereas the 
difference between a deceiving and a saving faith, doth not consist , 
in the strength of persuasion, but in the ground of it. Mat. vii. 
24-27, the two buildings be of equal height and beauty, the differ- 


ence lay in the bottom and foundation. A hypocrite may sail 
towards heaven with full gale of confidence, nay, the strength of 
that wind doth overturn the vessel ; for were he more dubious, he 
would be more anxious about his recovery, and so more likely to be 
saved : ' There is,' (saith the wise man,) ' that maketh himself rich, 
yet hath nothing,' Prov. xiii. 7. That is, there are some that are 
full of confidence, rich in assurance, that the love of Grod, the blood 
of Christ, the undefiled inheritance are theirs, when, indeed, they 
have not one grain of grace, nor any true ground of their joy and 
peace, but are very beggars. The apostle Paul speaketh of himself, 
that he was alive without the law, Kom. vii. 9, even then when he 
was liable to its curse and lash, he had high thoughts of his pre- 
sent holiness, and great hopes of his future happiness. He was a 
jolly fellow, cock-a-hoop, taking himself to be somebody ; his motto 
was Omnia bene, all is well, when, indeed, every thing was ill, and 
there was but a step between him and hell ; he had much false 
peace, though he had no true purity : ' His way was right in his 
own eyes, but the end was the way of death,' Prov. xiv. 12. He 
was alive without the law ; his ignorance was both the mother and 
nurse of his confidence ; just like a blind man, encompassed about 
with bloody enemies, or in a place full of serpents and poisonous 
creatures, yet thinks himself safe because he doth not see them. 
Or as a man in a lethargy, he feels no pain, though he be very 
near the pangs of death, Christ told the Jews, Ye say God is 
your Father, but yet have not known him. So these say, God is 
their Father, Christ is their husband, heaven their home, when they 
know neither. 

As every wicked man's conscience is morally evil, and stained 
with sin, so many times it is naturally evil, that it doth neither 
check him, nor judge him for his sin. One main work of conscience 
is to give evidence either for or against a man ; now conscience may 
bear false witness against its neighbour ; the godly man, either 
through ignorance or misinformation, not judging by a right rule, 
or not using that rule rightly. And conscience may give in false 
testimony on the behalf of ungodly men, either through its blind- 
ness, sleepiness, security, or searedness. Conscience, by nature, doth 
flatter the sinner, Deut. xxix. 29. Conscience may be seared, when 
it is not settled, and asleep when the sinner hath no true rest. 
Some men serve their consciences as David did Uriah, make it 
drunk that they may be rid of it ; when it hath begun to storm ^ 
they speak to it by some carnal diversions, as Christ to the rough 
sea, Peace, be still ; and if then a calm ensue, they are safe. While 

Chap. V.] by the key of regeneration. 61 

the devil, tlie strong man armed, keeps the house, all is qniet, Luke 
xi. 12. Conscience having often warned them of their sins and 
misery, and being still resisted, at last grows weary, and resolveth 
to give them over to their own ways and woe. These men strongly 
persuade themselves that all is well, and yet stoutly persist in all 
that is ill ; but they fall from the high turret of presumption into 
the bottomless gulf of perdition. 

The worst men have not seldom the best thoughts of themselves, 
both as to their present and future estates. How confident was the 
Pharisee that his condition was safe for the present, Luke xviii, 11, 
when he was in an estate of wrath ; and what assurance had those 
prophets that they should be admitted into paradise, Mat. vii. 
21-23. How boldly did they bounce at the door, but entrance was 
denied ; as the Jews of old spake peremptorily, ' we shall neither see 
sword or famine,' though God himself hath foretold both, Jer. v. 12 ; 
so many now speak presumptuously, they shall neither see law's 
curse, nor God's wrath, death nor damnation, when God himself 
hath ensured them to all their conditions : ' They cry, Peace, peace, 
when sudden desolation is ready to seize on them, as travail on a 
woman with child ; which they cannot escape,' 1 Thes. v. 3. The 
mirth of these men was never ushered in by godly mourning. Their 
expectation is raised high, but its foundation is not laid low. 

Nero shut up the temple of Janus, tanquam nullo residuo hello, 
as if no relics of war remained, saith Suetonius, when at the same 
time the empire was at civil war within itself. 

How ordinary is it for men whose consciences are past feeling, to 
brag that God and they are good friends, not knowing when they 
ever fell out, when at the same time he is at war with them, walks 
contrary to them, and is preparing for them the instruments of 
eternal death. Like Agag, to the very hour of execution, they are 
confident of a pardon, and go with their hearts full of hopes into 
the very place of despair. They die willingly, as they tell us, and 
their neighboui's commend them, saying, they died like lambs, 
when rather like Solomon's ox, who goeth to the slaughter, they so 
died, going to the den of roaring lions, and the place of dragons : 
' They had no bands in their deaths,' who were in bondage to the 
devil, Ps. Ixxiii. 4. 

As a man that is asleep upon the mast of a ship, he is in a golden 
dream, and his thoughts upon large revenues, rich treasures, king- 
doms and diadems, which he hath already in his own possession : 
but in that very hour wherein he is solacing himself in his vain 
imaginations, a storm ariseth, the man is tumbled off the mast and 


drowned. Thus many have golden dreams, strong presumptions 
of their salvation, when, alas ! they do but befool themselves, are all 
the while upon the brink of hell, and are tumbled into it before 
tliey are aware. 

Keader, look to this likewise, that thou build not on such a weak 
bottom ; for this may happen both to the profane men and to 
hypocrites. It is said of Pygmalion that he drew a picture so lively 
that he deceived himself, and taking the picture for a person, fell 
in love with his own picture. I tell thee thou mayest spin so fine 
a thread, and weave so carious a web of painted cloth, feigned 
godliness, that thou mayest deceive thyself, and take it to be fine 
linen, the righteousness of the saints, and mayest thence gather that 
thy soul is safe, when in all thou dost thou art unsound. If confi- 
dence or not doubting our estates will prove them out of danger, 
then the ignorant, stupid, seared sinners, must certainly be saved ; 
which the Scriptures flatly deny. Socrates, who lived according to 
his natural conscience, died with much calmness and confidence, 
speaking of those who put him to death, that they might kill him, 
but could not hurt him ; yet was without the knowledge of Jesus 
Christ, in whose name alone is salvation. 

Eighthly, To follow the light within thee, or to obey the dictates 
of a natural conscience, is no sound evidence for heaven. A man 
may follow the light within him to the chambers of utter darkness. 
The Jesuit in the Quaker would make this the infallible testimony 
of a man's uprightness and sincerity, nay, he plucks Christ from his 
throne, and sets the light within him in his room, making it more 
than a mark, even the meritorious cause of salvation ; but, reader, 
I sliall clearly prove that it is so far from })eing worthy of our 
affiance, that it is not so much as an evidence for heaven, because 
conscience, by nature, is corrupted as much as the other faculties: 
' Their minds and consciences,' saith the Holy Ghost, ' are defiled,' 
Titus i. 15. The nature of conscience is good, but the conscience 
of nature is evil. It savours not the things of God ; it is not purged 
with the blood of Christ ; it is wholly blind in the matters of 
Christianity; nay, it is a rebel against God. Now if I follow a 
blind <;uide, am I ever like to enter in at the strait gate ? Is it 
rational arguing that I am in my prince's favour, because I obey 
my captain, when he is a traitor ? 

I do not say that a natural conscience hath no good in it ; but I 
am sure it is in the account of God an evil conscience, opposing 
and resisting him. 

Like an ignis fatuus, as pure and perfect a light as the Quakers 

Chap. V.] by the key of regeneration. G3 

make it, it leadeth men out of God's highway into those bogs and 
quagmires wherein they sink and perish. I question not but the 
heathens did follow their polluted consciences in their idolatrous 
practices. And sure I am that Paul might thank his corrupt con- 
science for persecuting Jesus Christ : ' I verily thought,' (saith he,) 
' that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Christ,' 
Acts xxvi. 9. Mark the words, they are full of weight. Paul's 
conscience told him it was his duty to suppress Christianity. Was 
not his obedience to the commands of this conscience a sad sign 
that he was to be saved ? Further, Cln-ist telleth his disciples, 
John xvi. 2, that they who killed them, should think they did God 
good service. Observe, here was pure light within men, that made 
them think that they did God the greatest service in doing his 
church the greatest disservice ! Tertullian tells us that Maximinian, 
the emperor, esteemed Christ ianorum sanguinem diis gratissimam 
esse victimam : the blood of Christians to be an acceptable sacrifice 
to the gods. Is any man so mad as not to think that if such a 
pilot steer, the ship, by answering to its motion, must needs be cast 

Saul would out of conscience have slain the Gibeonites, 2 Sam. 
xxi. 2, and broken the covenant which had been sworn to by the 
Israelites. His conscience was evil, and could not speak his condi- 
tion to be good ; an evil conscience will call bitter sweet, darkness 
light, evil good. It will leave plain precepts, and walk by extra- 
ordinary providences, Isa. xxxvi. 18-20 ; Jer. 1. 7. It preferreth a 
strong impulsion of its own spirit before that word which is the will 
of God's Spirit, Isa. iii. 9, 10 ; it esteemeth a supposed revelation 
above that Scripture which is undoubtedly of divine inspiration, 
2 Pet. i. 19. It placeth often most of its religion in penance, 
abstinence, and outward acts of mortification, in external signs of 
humility, will-worship, and neglecting the body, Col. ii. 23, of many 
of which God may say, as to the Jews : ' Who hath required these 
things at your hands ?' Isa. i. 12. It makes men keep a great stir 
about cuffs, ribbons, hatbands^as the Pharisees about pots and cups, 
when their hearts are full of pride and malice, robbing even Christ 
of the glory of our redemption, and hating Christians for not daring 
to join in their cursed opinion. Friend, will following such a con- 
science speak thee to be a true Christian ? 

Conscience is indeed a rule, but regula regulata prius quam regu- 
lans : such a rule as must be ruled by God's word before it can be 
a right rule for our works. To the law and to the testimonies, if 
conscience speak not according to this word, it is because, though 


much pretended, no true light is in it. Scripture is the compass 
by which conscience must bend its course, or else it will never land 
its passengers at the desired haven. It is no fartlier liberty of 
conscience, but licentiousness, than it is regulated by the Scripture. 
One office of conscience is magistratical and legislative, to command 
and give laws to man. We read of the heathen, that in regard of 
their consciences, ' they were a law to themselves,' Kom. ii. 14. 
Conscientia mille reges, mille leges. But though conscience be a 
king over the other faculties, yet it is a subject and subordinate to 
God ; and therefore as a deputy-lieutenant, it must command its 
inferiors, according to the directions which it receiveth from its 
superior ; otherwise, as a king which commands out of his domi- 
nions, it is not to be obeyed. God hath indeed given conscience 
a large commission, it is a deputy-deity in the little world, man. 
The government of the soul lieth for a great part upon its 

It hath an universal negative voice, nothing to be done without 
its assent, Kom. xiv. 2, 23, but not an universal affirmative voice, 
to enjoin what it pleaseth ; when it is regulated by God's law, then, 
and not till then, it can govern well our hearts and lives. 

Bernard saith excellently, ' We must consult with conscience, as 
also to consult with Scripture ; the Bible is the book of life ; accord- 
ing to that, the book of our consciences may be copied or corrected. 
Let us therefore,' saith he, ' compare our book with God's book, lest 
in the last day our books be found false and faulty, when they 
come to be examined.' 

Copies are no further valid and authentic than they agree with 
the original ; neither is conscience any further to be trusted than 
it accords with the word of truth; it is an under-officer, and 
therefore if it waive its commission, and use its power against its 
prince, it is to be informed, not obeyed. The law natural must be 
hearkened to, so far as it agreeth with the law moral. It is the 
greatest idolatry in the world, saith Rev. Mr Rutherford, to 
make thyself thy idol, and as bad, as that Papacy at Rome, to 
make a pope of thy own conscience. The light of Scripture is 
infallible, but not so the light of nature ; yet how ordinary is it for 
men in our days, like the men of Sbechem, Judges, ix. 36, 49, to fly 
for shelter to this hold of the idol Berith, and to think themselves 
safe if they can say the light within them, (they might more truly 
say the prince of darkness.) moveth them to deny all ordinances, to 
call Christians devils and limbs of antichrist, to set up a Christ 
within them, in opposition to that righteousness which he wrought 

Chap. V.] by the key op regenekation. 65 

without them ; but as that hold was fired over the Shechemites' 
heads, and they perished in it, so these men and their consciences, 
if the Lord do not turn them, shall burn together. 

Thou seest now, reader, that men may follow their natural judg- 
ments into eternal torments ; do not therefore follow conscience 
blindfold, but first set that watch by the sundial of God's word, 
for then only it will go true, and according to it thou mayest work. 

Ninthly, To join with this or that party, or to hold this or that 
opinion, is no sure evidence of salvation ; all the sign which some 
have of their sincerity, is their schism and separation from the 
people of God and public ordinances. They fancy, for indeed it is 
but a fancy, that to leave the good old way prescribed by Christ, 
and travelled in by the saints in all ages, and to take a byway over 
hedge and ditch, found out by themselves, or some others whose 
persons they have in admiration, is the nearest and surest way to 
heaven. How many list themselves under the colours of Quakers, 
or Anabaptists, or Independents, or Episcopal, or Presbyterians, 
fighting, in expressions at least, against all that are of a different 
judgment, and being confident of the goodness of their cause, think 
it impossible for them that are engaged in it to miscarry. Reader, 
if thou art one of these, I must tell thee, for all this thou mayest 
be unconverted ; whatever thy cause or opinion be, or whoever be 
the head of thy party or file-leader, if regeneration be not thy 
banner, and Christ thy captain, thou shalt without question be 
conquered, and as certainly die an eternal death, as thou livest a 
natural life. 

Creeds do not make Christians ; nor are opinions, be they never 
so new, signs of new affections. Eather contra ; divisions and side- 
takings do rather speak a brutish and grazing, as Nebuchadnezzar's, 
than a gracious heart. How many persons were there in the days 
of Christ, who differed from others in their principles ! The very 
scribes and pharisees differed in some things, the Essenes differed 
from them both, the Sadducees from all three, the Herodians from 
all the former ; yea, the difference amongst many of them was so 
wide, that they could not meet together in divine worship ; now 
how weak had it been for either of these, from their dividing from 
men on earth, to have inferred their dwelling with God in heaven ? 
When, for aught I know, he must go beyond them all that will be 
saved, Mat. v. 20. 

Thou mayest be of that party which hath the greatest name for 
purity, and yet when thou diest, not enter into peace. I will, for 
thy sake, suppose the opinion which thou boldest to be true and 

VOL. V. E 


sound, and the party to wliicli thou joinest to be holy and solid, 
yet neither of these is regeneration. Alas ! the new birth doth not 
consist in a sound head, though it be a mercy if thou boldest the 
pattern of wholesome words, but in a purified heart ; not in siding 
with the truth, but in being sanctified by the truth. 

The five foolish virgins associated with the wise, and yet were 
unregenerate and wicked. Judas kept company with Christ and 
his apostles, and joined with them in acts of devotion, and yet was 
a son of perdition. Vermin crawl among roses, but are without 
their savour and sweetness. Spiders fasten on rich hangings, yet 
are full of poison. Dross and gold, smoke and fire, dregs and 
wine, chaff and corn, are joined together, yet do abundantly 

Thou mayest, like the mixed multitude, seem to turn thy back 
upon Egypt, and embark in the same bottom with the true Israel- 
ites, and yet, as they, come short of Canaan. 

Tenthly and lastly. Some seeming good affections do not neces- 
sarily speak a man's good condition. 

Every shining stone is not a diamond, nor is every flashy affec- 
tion from regeneration. Some say there is no precious stone but 
hath its counterfeit. I think there is hardly any grace but hath 
its ape. I will instance in some few affections which thou mayest 
have, and yet miss heaven. 

Thou mayest wonder at the excellency of the word, and yet be 
a stranger to the efficacy of it : Luke iv. 22, ' All bare him wit- 
ness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of 
his mouth.' All wondered at the Saviour, but all were not wounded 
for their sins. All wondered at his gracious words, but many 
wanted his gracious work. Ezekiel's sermons were to some of his 
hearers as lovely songs, and yet they continued impenitent in their 
sins. Some people nibble at the bait of the preacher's oratory, 
when their souls are never caught with the hook and authority ol 
Scripture, Ezek. xxxiii. 31, 32. 

Thou mayest be full of joy under the word, and yet be empty of 
grace. Herod heard John gladly, Mark vi. 20 ; others received 
the word with joy, Mat. xiii. 20. Do godly men rejoice in the 
word of God? Ps. cxix. 110, 111. Truly so may others; they 
may seem to warm themselves at the same fire with saints, to 
drink the same heart- cheering wine, and yet their wine is drawn 
at several taps. The unregenerate man's joy floweth from a com- 
mon gift or illumination ; the regenerate man's joy from special 
grace or sanctification : ' Thou mayest be enlightened, and taste 

Chap. V.] by the key of regenera.tion. 67 

the good word of God, and the powers of the workl to come,' Heb. 
vi. 4, 5. Mark, an unsanctified man may taste the word of God, 
and, as cooks taste of their sauces, it pleaseth them, but they spit 
all out, let nothing down, receive no nourishment from it. The 
truths of God, and thoughts of heaven, may pass through thee as 
water through a pipe of lead, leaving only some dew of flashy and 
washy joy, not soaking into thy heart, as water into the earth, and 
making thee soft and fruitful. As a poor man in a sleep some- 
times thinks that he is highly promoted, sumptuously feasted, 
exceedingly enriched, and oh how he is delighted witli such imagi- 
nations ! and indeed all that such thoughts produce is only some 
sudden joy, no alteration in the man, nor resolution to walk answer- 
ably to such dignity, for all is but a dream ; so thou mayest think 
sometimes of the excellency of the mercies which God hath 
promised, of the pure rivers of pleasures which Christ hath pur- 
chased ; and oh how mayest thou be taken with them, imagining 
that they belong to thee ! but all the effect which they work is 
only some short joy, no real change, or settled purpose to crucify 
the flesh, despise the world, and deny self for the hopes of them, 
for all is but a fancy. 

Thy joy may be a say of that which thou wilt not buy, as being 
loath to go to the price, and a taste of that on which thou shalt 
never make a full meal. The full bargain may not be driven be- 
tween God and thy soul, and then thou canst not take this joy as 
an earnest or in part of payment. 

Thou mayest sigh and mourn for thy sins, and yet be unac- 
quainted with godly sorrow. It is not seldom that men hang down 
their heads like bulrushes, when they are rooted in the mire of 

Possibly under some sharp affliction thou mayest cry out of thy 
corruptions, as the pig squeaks under the knife. So did Pharaoh ; 
as metals melt in the fire, and harden out of it ; but still unregene- 
rate, Exod. ix. 

Ahab humbled himself under the threatening of God, but like a 
fox in a trap he looked sadly, merely to get out ; for at the same 
time he was an enemy to God, and quickly after went up to Eamoth 
Gilead in defiance of him, 1 Kings xxi. xxii. 

It may be thou hast had some pang of conviction, which like a 
qualm hath come over thy stomach, and made thee sick a little at 
present, but thou dost, by the strong water of some carnal content- 
ment, settle it again ; the bad humours of thy lusts were only 
stirred, not vomited up. Judas had a great gash in his soul, and 


yet not one drop of his bad blood let out. He was tortured at tlie 
heart by legal attrition, but not turned into holiness by evangelical 
contrition ; his heart was only battered as lead by the hammer, 
not bettered, or melted by the fire, to be cast into God's mould, 
Mat. xxvii. 

A vessel of wine is troubled by being removed, but the lees 
remaining, it retaineth and quickly returneth to its former savour. 
Some smarting providence, or searching ordinance, may remove 
and trouble thee for a time, but thy unsanctified heart remaining, 
thou wilt return to thy former savour ; like Moab, thou mayest 
be settled on thy lees, and not emptied from vessel to vessel, 
therefore thy taste remaineth, and thy sense is not changed, Jer. 
xlviii. 11. 

There are two words used by the Holy Ghost for repentance 
fieTa/jieXeLa, Mat. xxvii. 3, and fieravola, 2 Tim. ii. 25 ; the former 
signifieth sorrow for a fault committed, the latter after-wit, a change 
of the mind, or making wise for the future. The former may be in 
the unregenerate ; but, as they say of Castor and Pollux, if they 
are divided they are ominous and fatal ; so say I of these, if lament- 
ing sins past be not joined with loathing, and leaving sin for the 
time to come, it is not repentance unto life. Some by their repent- 
ance think they get a new privilege to sin ; as that Louis of 
France, who would swear, and then kiss his crucifix ; swear 
again, and kiss it again ; and as the drunkard gives himself a 
vomit, and then he is the fitter and freer to fall to his cups again ; 
thus some men's sorrow is a message sent to heaven, to entreat 
leave that they may sin ; but this is far from the sorrow which is 
never to be sorrowed for. 

Thy sorrow for sin may be forced out of thee, as water out of a 
still, by the fire of afiliction, not come freely from thee, as water 
out of a spring. Let thy conscience be judge, hadst thou not 
rather be at thy carnal mirth, than spiritual mourning ? Many 
of the Jews could mourn sadly in their distress, though they were 
not sanctified ; now violent actions will not speak thy natural 

Or thy grief may be like a land-flood, which cannot hold long ; 
for a day thou mayest afilict thy soul, for a day thou mayest hang 
down thy head like a bulrush, Isa. Iviii. A bulrush, whilst tha 
wind bloweth, bendeth downward ; but the wind ceasing it percheth 
up again. Whilst thou art tossed up and down with the boisteroua 
billows, as one not accustomed to the ocean, thou mayest be sea- 
sick, but when thou art off from the waters, thou art well again. 

Chap. V.] by the key of regeneration. G9 

The vessel of thy soul is always leaking, but that pump of sorrow 
is not always going. 

Thou mayest, like the woman of Tekoah, feign thyself a mourner, 
2 Sam. xiv. 2, when in truth thou art none. Thou dost not dive to 
the bottom of thy heart, as the Indians of the sea for jewels, to 
fetch thence thy pearly tears ; thou criest not to God with thy 
heart when thou howlest on thy bed, Hosea vii. 14. Thy waters 
may not be drawn from the deep well of a broken and contrite 
heart. Every sacrifice thou oflferest may be as Ephraim, ' a silly 
dove without an heart,' Hosea vii. 11. 

Thou mayest fear sin, and yet sin may be thy favourite. The 
vengeance in sin's tail may be frightful to thee, when the venom in 
its body and nature is not at all distasteful to thee. Like the 
burnt child thou mayest dread the fire of sin, not because it soots 
and blacks thee, but because it scorches and burns thee. 

There is so much light left still in man's understanding, which 
is called the candle of the Lord, that he cannot but see a God, 
and this God clothed with wrath and judgments against sin and 
sinners ; and thence he, though unconverted, may sometimes be full 
of fear and horror. Caligula used all the art he could to blow out 
this light, and fortified himself with all the arguments he could 
get against a deity, but could not accomplish his ends ; for as 
often as it thundered he was miserably affrighted, and would run 
under a bed. So we read that Felix, a heathen, trembled when 
Paul reasoned of judgment to come. Acts xxiv. 25. Sin in its 
doomsday dress, as it is clothed with fire and fury, may be terrible 
even to the ungodly. And the consideration of this may make 
them leave many sins, that do not loathe any sin. The mariner 
throweth overboard those goods in a storm which he wisheth for, 
and, it may be, gathereth up in a calm. As a man in a fever 
loveth drink, yea, longeth much for it, yet dares not meddle with 
it, because it will make him worse. ' The sinners in Zion (saith 
the prophet) are afraid ; fearfulness hath taken hold on hypocrites.' 
Why, what is the matter ? ' Who can dwell in everlasting burn- 
ings? who can abide devouring flames?' Isa. xxxiii. 14. Mark, 
it is not. Who ever abused such an ocean of love ? who ever de- 
spised such a matchless life ? who ever provoked such a gracious 
Lord ? but ' who can dwell in everlasting burnings ? ' The sting 
of sin to the unregenerate is punishment, and the sting of punish- 
ment to the regenerate is sin, Exod. ix, 28 ; Hosea xiv. 1. To fear 
sin, as it bringeth a heavy rod, usually proceeds from nature ; 


but to fear sin, as it is a wandering from a holy rule, can pro- 
ceed only from grace. 

Truly as Phaltiel parted with his wife Michal, whom Saul had 
injuriously taken from David and given unto him, so unregenerate 
men part with their sins. When David came to the crown, he 
sendeth for Michal. Phaltiel dares not disobey the king, but he 
brings her on her way weeping, and bemoaning his loss ; he looks 
after her as far as Bahurim ; many a sad thought he had for her 
when she was by force divorced from him. 

Thus unregenerate men leave their lusts when they are afraid 
to keep them, but many a longing heart they have after them, and 
are not by choice, but constraint, separated from them. As parents, 
they go to the funeral of those children of their corrupt hearts with 
no small sorrow. Sickly persons forbear some meats, which they 
loved dearly, because those meats do not love them ; they either 
feed their diseases, or are hardly digested. Some sinners dare not 
feed in their actions on some sins, which are as sweet to their 
affections as the honey and the honeycomb, because they fear that 
they will rise in their stomachs, and the reckoning will be too 
heavy for them to pay. 

Or possibly thou art entering upon some solemn act of devotion, 
and upon that account at present forbearest thy corruptions ; as 
some write of serpents, they lay by their poison when they go to 
drink, and afterwards take it up again. Thou mayest, like Abraham 
to his servant, bid thy sin stay below, while thou goest up to the 
mount to worship. Gen. xxii., and when the duty is done return to 
it again. 

Keader, do not rely upon these affections, which thou seest may 
be in them which are not regenerated : for as the sorcerers seemed 
to do as much as Moses, but did nothing in reality, so thou mayest 
seem to do as much as a Christian, when all is but counterfeit. 
Thy fear of sin may be forced, not flow freely from thee : ' Fear- 
fulness hath taken hold on the hypocrites,' Isa. xxxiii. 14, as a Ser- 
jeant takes hold on a bad debtor, or an armed man on a coward, 
being more bold than welcome. Thou mayest fear sin, as the 
Medes and Persians the Jews, when the fear of the Jews fell upon 
them, Esther viii. 17, when the presence of this fear is, as Christ's 
presence is to the devils, a torment to thee, Mat. viii. 29. 

Nay, thy fear may be only for a fit, like a mushroom which 
groweth up in a night and perisheth the next day. The people, when 
they saw Amasa weltering in his blood in the way, stood still ; 
but he being quickly removed, they went on. When thou thinkest 

Chap. V.] by the key of regeneration, 71 

of others weltering in their soul-blood in hell, or seest the judg- 
ments of God upon others, thou mayest be afraid and stand still a 
little at present ; but these thoughts being soon removed, thou 
mayest go on in the way of thine own heart. 

It is reported of Cassander that he trembled at the sight of 
Alexander's statue when Alexander was dead, and Cassander had 
gotten possession of Macedonia. The regenerate man, when he 
seeth with the eye of faith the curse of the law, the wrath of God, 
the torments of hell, his flesh trembleth for fear of them, and he 
is afraid of God's righteous judgments, though they are all dead 
to him, he being not under the law but under grace ; but it may 
be it is the life in them, and their power to hurt thee, which makes 
thee afraid of them. 

Friend, in all these passions thou mayest but, like a stage-player 
in the robes of a prince, act the part of a Christian, and there- 
fore canst not thence conclude thy right to the revenues of his 
place. The whole life of a man unregenerate is but an interlude. 
Kegeneration alone can make a man live in good earnest. 

Keader, if thou art a civil person, a great professor, enjoyest 
the outward privileges of the gospel, aboundest in duties and per- 
formances ; if God hath given thee gifts and parts ; if godly 
men commend thee, and thou art sometimes confident of thy own 
good condition ; if thou walkest according to thy natural light, 
and joinest with them that fear the Lord ; if some good affections, 
like a flash of lightning, on a sudden surprise thee ; though most of 
these are good, yet do not hence conclude thy undoubted right to 
salvation ; for all these may consist with unregeneracy, and Christ 
telleth thee ' that except thou art born again, thou canst not see 
the kingdom of God.' As the alchymist's gold appeareth as good 
as the true gold, but it will not endure the seventh fire, nor com- 
fort the heart as a cordial — both which the true gold will ; so, if all 
these should meet in thee, they would make thee look like a saint ; 
but, believe it, they will never endure the fire of Scripture, which 
must shortly try thee whether thou art true gold or counterfeit, 
nor comfort thy soul as a cordial when physicians shall give over 
thy body. 

Thirdly, • If without regeneration none can attain salvation, it 
informeth us of the difficulty of salvation, that it is a hard thing 
to get to heaven. It is no easy matter to be regenerated and made 
holy ; and therefore it is no easy matter to be glorified and made 
happy. Where the gate is strait it is hard to get in. ' If the 
righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the sinner and ungodly 


appear ?' 1 Pet. iv. 18. The apostle there intendeth not the un- 
certainty, but the difficulty of the salvation of the godly. If it be 
so hard for them to be saved that have passed the pikes, shot the 
gulf, gone tlirough the pangs of the new birth, and travelled a con- 
siderable part of their way heavenward, how hard will it be for 
them who are not yet set out, that have not taken one step in the 
way to life ! 

The sleepy world, indeed, dream that men may go to heaven 
without so much ado ; they look upon civility to be sanctity, 
worldly sighs to be godly sorrow, not doubting their estates to be 
faith in Christ ; and if they can but spare a little time, and now 
and then, from the world and the flesh, to mumble over a few 
night-petitions, they hope with the help of these bladders to swim 
through the ocean of divine fury to heaven. Or if they come short 
of these fig-leaves wherewith many of Adam's children endeavour, 
though in vain, to cover their nakedness, yet if they have the 
warning piece of sickness before the murdering piece of death be 
shot off, that they can but cry, Lord, have mercy upon us, or tell 
their neighbours that they are sorry for their sins, or get a minister 
to pray with them, then all must be well, and they must as sure 
go, when they die, to God and Christ, as they lived to the flesh and 
the devil. But stay, friends, a little, there are more words than one 
to this spiritual bargain between God and your souls ; there is a 
work of regeneration to be done, or else ye are undone eternally ; 
ye must be thoroughly and universally new made, or else ye are 
marred for ever. 

Christ would never have commanded men to strive, as to an 
agony, to enter in at the strait gate, Mat. vii, 13 ; to work out 
their salvation with fear and trembling, Phil. ii. 12 ; to labour 
for the food which endureth to everlasting life, John vi. 27, if it 
had been such an easy thing to have reached heaven. Things of 
such excellency are not obtained with such facility ; pebbles lie 
common, but pearls are hardly come by. They must travel far, 
dig deep, work hard, that will get the golden mines. The way to 
hell lieth down hill ; a weak body may run down hill, but it is 
hard to go up hill to mount Zion. 

Friend, I write not these things to discourage — alas ! I need not ; 
there is not a straw in the way to heaven but thou, if unconverted, 
stumblest at it, when thou canst leap over blocks in the way to 
hell — but to awaken thee out of thy carnal security, and to quicken 
thee to seriousness and industry about that which is of such un- 
speakable concernment to thy soul. Our first births are many times 

Chap. V.] by the key of kegeneration. 73 

accompanied with hard labours, ushered in by sharp throes and 
bitter pangs ; our second births are always harder. Oh the terrors 
and horrors, the convictions and convulsions, the tremblings of 
soul and lancings of conscience, the thunderings from the law, the 
lightnings from hell-fire, with which often this new creature is 
born ! It is hard labour, indeed, which bringeth this babe of 
grace into the world. 

I have read of Melanchthon, that when he was first converted he 
thought it almost impossible for any man to withstand the evidence 
and authority of the word of God ; whereupon he told one of his 
friends, that when he came to preach he would make work among 
souls ; but, after some years spent in that calling, being demanded 
what success of his labours, he answered that old Adam was too 
strong for young Melanchthon. Alas, friend, possibly thou mayest 
think that thou wilt turn to God hereafter, and thereby prevent 
thy burning in hell for ever. Believe it, it is not so easy to turn 
from sin to God as thou imaginest. Conversion is another manner 
of thing, and more hard than most men think ; thou couldst sooner 
create a world than make thyself a new creature. The resurrection 
of thy body, if it were dead in the grave, were an easier work than 
the resurrection of thy soul to newness of life. 

As the birth of the natural, so the birth of the spiritual man 
requireth infinite strength. It is God, not the midwife, that taketh 
the child out of the mother's womb, Ps. xxii. 9. The hand of God 
alone can open that door, and let the little infant into the world, 
Gen. xxix. 31, otherwise the womb would be its tomb. So the 
birth of the new man is wholly from God ; and the power where- 
with he efi"ects it is both miraculous and almighty. 

Eeader, if thou dost take a brief view what things are wrought 
when any one is new made, and how little he doth contribute to 
them, nay, how opposite he is against them, thou mayest perceive 
that neither regeneration nor salvation are easy. 

Thy mind must be enlightened to see both sin and the Saviour. 
Now is it easy to open the eye of the blind ? who can do it but he 
whom Augustine calleth totus oculus, all eye ? When Jesus gave 
sight to one that was born blind, the Jews themselves could not 
but acknowledge him a worker of miracles, John ix. 6, 16. What 
then will the scattering the mists of ignorance and dispersing the 
clouds of darkness, which gather and thicken about our understand- 
ings by nature, speak the Sun of righteousness to be ? Eph. v. 8. 
Thy heart also must be thoroughly humbled ; stone must be turned 
into flesh. And oh, it is not easy to melt such hard metal, when 


thy heart naturally is like clay hardened both by the sunshine of 
mercies and fire of judgment, that no change of weather can make 
that stone to weep, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. 

Besides, the strongholds of sin must be cast down ; thy old friends 
must be deserted and prosecuted with implacable hatred as irrecon- 
cilable enemies ; those beloved lusts, which are at thy right hand, 
have such a large room in thy heart, must be cut off and parted 
from thee. Thy dilectum delictum, the Isaac of thy corruption, 
which is the child of thy warmest affection, in which thou hast 
taken such great delight, and from which thou hast promised 
thyself such large returns of profit, pleasure, or preferment, must 
be laid on the altar, and have the sacrificing knife of mortification 
thrust into the heart of it, and its blood poured out before the 
Lord. Man, is not this a hard saying ! (as they spake in another 
case,) who can hear it ? a hard lesson, who can learn it ? Thy lust 
will not, like a lamb, go silently to the slaughter, but it will roar 
and rage, fight stoutly for its life with many carnal arguments, 
and even rend thy heart with its hideous outcries. Who can tell 
the struggling of this beast before it will be brought to the block ? 
Dives and his dishes, Balaam and his wages, Achan and his wedges, 
Herod and his Herodias, the young man and his great means, are 
not easily separated. Oh how difficult is it to wean the child of 
disobedience from those breasts which he hath sucked so often and 
with so much complacency, and to divorce them which, like man 
and wife, have been ravished with each other's love ! In works of 
art it is hard to build, easy to destroy ; in works of nature a tree 
which hath been many years growing may be cut down in an hour : 
but in works of sin it is otherwise ; man's weakness can easily build 
them up, but God's power can only throw them down. 

Pompey, when the Komans said that if Ceesar came to Kome 
they saw not how they could resist his power, told them, that if he 
did but stamp with his foot on any ground in Italy, he would bring 
men enough, both footmen and horsemen, to do it ; but when 
Caesar was coming with his army, Phaonius bid Pompey stamp 
with his feet, and fetch the soldiers which he had promised. But 
all was in vain : Pompey found it more difficult than he thought ; 
for Caesar made him first flee, and then in a fight totally routed 
him.- The devil persuades men that they may defer their regenera- 
tion till their dissolution, and then it will be an easy matter to foil 
their spiritual foes ; but, alas ! they find it not so easy to mortify 
earthly members and destroy the body of death, when their soul's 

Chap. V.] by the key of regenekatiok. 75 

adversaries with united strength encounter them fiercely and conquer 
them eternally. 

Further, all thy earthly comforts, whether friends, relations, 
name, estate, limbs, life, must be laid at the feet of Christ, hated 
for his sake, and parted with at his call and command, and that for 
the hope of such things as thou never sawest, nor art ever like to 
see whilst thou livest. Is not this, reader, a hard chapter, to forego 
an estate in hand for something only in hope, to throw away pre- 
sent possessions, aud follow Christ thou knowest not whither ; to 
receive an inheritance thou knowest not when ? 

And as thy sins and thy soul must be parted asunder, so thy 
Saviour and thy soul must be joined together ; faith must follow 
repentance ; thy own righteousness must be esteemed as dross and 
dung ; the weight of thy soul and the burden of thy sins must be 
laid on the naked cross of Jesus Christ. Now, for thee who art 
by nature so extremely in love with thyself, to loathe thyself ; and 
for thee, notwithstanding \hj discouragements from the number 
and nature of thy sins, the threatenings and curses of the law, the 
wrath and righteousness of God, to cling about, and hang upon the 
Lord Jesus, and resolve, though he kill thee, yet thou wilt trust in 
him, surely this is not easy ; the work of God in infusing justifying 
faith is as great as in faith miraculous. ' This is the work of God,' 
saith Christ, ' that ye believe in the name of him whom he hath 
sent,' John vi. 29, The work of God, not only in regard of its 
excellency, because no work in man is more pleasing to God than 
believing on his Son, but also in regard of its difficulty, because 
none but a God can enable a man to believe ; the bird can as soon 
fly in the egg as thy soul mount up by faith towards heaven till the 
almighty God assist thee. 

Further, all the commands of God must be heartily embraced, 
some whereof are as contrary to flesh and blood as fire to water. 
Self, which is thy great idol, must be denied ; the world, with all 
its pomp and pride, in comparison of Christ, refused ; principalities 
and powers re-encountered and foiled ; thine enemies loved (and if 
killed, it must be with kindness ;) godliness owned, though much 
disgraced by others ; truth followed close, though it threaten to 
dash out thy teeth with its heels ; a buffeted Christ with his naked 
cross preferred before weighty crowns ; things which reason cannot 
comprehend, believed, and which none ever obtained, laboured for. 
Friend, are these easy things ? what thinkest thou ? Add to all 
this the consideration not only of thy weakness and inability to do 


these things, but also thy wickedness and contrariety to them ; 
thou art not only deprived of good, but all over depraved with evil : 
' The imaginations and thoughts of thy heart are evil, only evil, 
and that continually,' Gen. vi. 5. ' Thou dost resolvedly and obsti- 
nately refuse good and choose evil,' Eccles. viii. 11 ; Jer. xliv, 16. 
' The hearts of the sons of men are fully set in them to do evil,' 
Eccles. viii. 11. Observe how full that text is: man is resolved to 
have his minion, his lust, though he have wrath, and death, and 
hell into the bargain. As the mother of Nero, being told that her 
son would be her death if ever he were emperor, answered. Let 
him kill me, so he may reign ; so they say, let sin reign, though 
it kill us, though it damn us. ' The heart of the sons of men is 
fully set in them to do evil.' If thou wert only empty of God and 
grace, the work were more easy ; but thou art an enemy to grace 
and godliness ; thy carnal mind (which is Lady Keason herself, 
thy highest natural excellency) is — not an enemy, for such a one 
may be reconciled, but in the abstract — enmity against God. Thou 
hatest God, Kom. i. 30 ; his people, 1 John iii. 12 ; his i^recepts, 
Prov. i. 25-29 ; his Son, John xv. 25, and all for his sake. Thou 
lightest against him daily, sinnest in defiance of him continually, 
entailest thy quarrel upon thy posterity, carriest it with thee into 
the other world, (if thou diest unregenerate.) and there art throw- 
ing thine envenomed darts of blasphemy, and spitting thy poison 
against the Most High to eternity. Now be thy own judge ; is it 
easy to cure that patient who thus despei-ately hates both physician 
and physic ? John iii. 5. 

Water indeed, saitli one, may somewhat easily be dammed up, 
but no art nor labour can make it run back in its own channel. 
It was by a miracle that the river of Jordan was driven back ; and 
it is no less than a miracle that the tide of sin, which ran so strong, 
should be turned ; that the sinner who before was sailing towards 
hell, and wanted neither wind nor tide to carry him forward, 
should now alter his course, and tack about for heaven. This is 
hard ; it is not more strange to see the earth fly upward and fire 
move downward than to see a sinner walk contrary to his nature 
in the ways of grace and holiness. Now, reader, is not that man 
worse than mad that either delayeth or dallieth about his conver- 
sion, upon supposition that he can do it easily enough hereafter, 
when all this which I have written must be wrought in regenera- 
tion, and when he is not only empty of, an enemy to, but even 
enmity against it all ? 

Though the work of conversion, and therefore the way to salva- 

Chap. Y.] by the key of regeneration. 77 

tion, be thus difficult to all, yet to some it is more difficult than to 
others. In respect of God indeed, quoad Deum, one is as easily 
converted as another, for infinite power and mercy know no differ- 
ence ; but quoad 7ios, in respect of us, it is more hard to bring some 
towards holiness and heaven than others : where the matter is most 
rugged and untoward, it is harder to bring it to a good and comely 
form. Some pieces of timber are more knotty than others, and 
therefore not so easily squared and fitted for the spiritual temple 
and heavenly Jerusalem as others ; all spiritual children are not 
brought forth with the same strength and labour. 

I shall mention three or four sorts of persons who are not so 
soon as others persuaded to real and unfeigned piety ; and truly 
my end is, that they may be powerfully roused, and effectually re- 
newed before they be eternally ruined. 

First, The mere civil moral man. This man, ITarcissus-like, doats 
on himself, and thereby is hardly brought to deny himself. The 
more the tooth is fastened to the gum, the harder it is to part them; 
the more the man, like a tree, is rooted in the earth of self, the more 
difficult to stock him up. The civil man looks on himself in the 
glass of scandalous sinners' lives, and finding his face so clean and 
fair in comparison of theirs, he falls extraordinarily in love with 
himself, which many times proves his destruction : he takes his 
civility for sanctity, that which is less than the shadow for the sub- 
stance ; and without question, it is not easy to make him eager 
after godliness, when he is confident he hath it already. A profane 
person is (not seldom) sooner convinced and converted than this 
conceited civilian ; for that man will sooner acknowledge himself 
sick, but this patient, though sick unto death, looks on himself as 
whole, and so to have no need of a physician. In this sense, I sup- 
pose, the words of our Lord are spoken, that publicans and har- 
lots go into the kingdom of God before scribes and pharisees. Mat. 
xxi. 31. 

As a ship that is under sail, though in a contrary course, is 
sooner brought about, than one that lieth aground in the harbour 
can be launched forth ; so he that is in motion, though in a sinful 
conversation, is often sooner reduced than he that lieth still in the 
thoughts of his own condition. As I can sooner overtake a child 
that runneth from me, than my shadow, which tarrieth nigh me ; 
so it is easier to recover a gross offender, than this shadow of the 
civilian ; for though he run not so far from grace as the other, yet 
he will be sure to keep his distance. He useth his outward un- 
blameableness as a shield to fence off the power of godliness ; he 


usually compareth liimself with them that are very evil, as a cow- 
ard choosing a weak adversary, and because he much excelleth 
them, therefore concludeth that he is very good. Eeader, it is far 
from my thoughts to discourage civility, much less to encourage 
open impiety, though the whole will of God must he taught, what 
use soever corrupt hearts will make of it ; but to make thee watch- 
ful, that thy outward harmlessness prove not a hindrance to inward 

Secondly, The hypocrite is one who is with more difficulty than 
ordinary converted. Hypocrisy is like a fistula, which hath a very 
small orifice, but many turnings and windings in the body, like 
coney burrows, so that it is very hardly discerned and cured ; this man 
seems to be what a saint is indeed ; and because he is like a godly 
man, performing the same duties, and forbearing the same iniqui- 
ties, as to the external part, tlierefore he gathers that he is one in- 
deed ; but he embraceth a cloud instead of Juno ; he appeareth to 
be near the kingdom of God, but never careth to come at it ; as 
a parallel line, he keeps a scantling with the way of godliness, but 
never meeteth with ii There is some particular exception which 
this man hath taken against Christ and his ways, that though he 
may often cheapen, yet he seldom buyetli the pearl of price ; he 
escapes storms and pirates at sea, and makes shipwreck in the 
haven, where destruction is no less sure, but much more miserable ; 
he escapes the gross lusts of publicans and harlots, and yet is fur- 
ther than both from eternal life. 

It is harder to convince this man of his sins than others. If I 
tell a drunkard, a swearer, or an adulterer of his transgressions, 
and the necessity of conversion, this man's foul conversation is a 
forcible conviction to him ; yea, and his own conscience will pos- 
sibly fly in his face, take part with me, and give evidence against 
him ; but if I tell a hypocrite of the necessity of sanctification, and 
pursue him with the pieces of the law, he presently betakes him- 
self, like the beasts, to his den of duties, and therein shelters him- 
self ; nay, his natural conscience being fed and bribed with a few 
performances, may plead for him, at least not say a word against 

Besides, when this man is convinced of his lost estate, it is 
harder to break this man's heart than another's ; for his heart hath 
not only a natural hardness, but an extraordinary acquired hard- 
ness, such a hardness as is acquired by duties and ordinances. 
Now, as where the sun is most powerful, there are the hardest 
metals ; so where the sunshine of spiritual blessings is most plenti- 

Chap, V.] by the key of regeneration. 79 

fully enjoyed, and thus wretchedly abused, there are the hardest 
hearts. No softening like gospel softening, no hardening like gos- 
pel hardening. 

Tell a man that never heard of the gospel, or very seldom, when 
he is convinced of his sins and misery, of the love of God in send- 
ing his only Son into the world to die, that poor sinners might 
not perish ; tell him of the infinite love of Christ, in giving himself 
a sacrifice for his soul ; how freely Christ invites him, how fully he 
provides for him, how willing he is to accept him, how welcome he 
will make him : oh how this man sometimes falls a-weeping, wring- 
ing his hands, and renting his heart, that ever he should abuse 
such love and mercy, refuse such incomparable merits, walk in the 
whole course of his heart and life unworthy of such a blessed, glori- 
ous, holy, and gracious God ! the word of God doth wound this 
man to the soul ; but say all this and much more to a hypocrite, 
his heart is like the rock, not at all moved. The promises of God 
do not cleanse him from pollutions ; but they are as physic to which 
his body hath been much used, which stirs him not at all, nor 
purgeth away any ill humours. Threatenings do not work with 
him, be they never so dreadful and terrible ; as a smith's dog, be- 
ing accustomed to it, he can sleep securely, though the sparks of 
the forge fly about him, nay, though the flames of hell flash in his 

Eeader, if thou shouldst be one of this sort, for the Lord's sake 
mind soundness with speed ; for hypocrisy will harden thine heart 
insensibly, and every day widen the breach betwixt God and thy 

Thirdly, The rich man. The man that is rich in this world, is 
hardly brought to mind the riches of the other world ; his heavy 
load of earth doth much hinder him in his journey to heaven ; 
his riches clasp about his affections, as the ivy about the oak, 
sucking out the heart of it, for its own leaves and berries. This 
man taketh up with his present possessions, in comparison where- 
of he disesteemeth the saints' reversions. As a vessel that is ex- 
ceedingly laden, when it meets with storms and tempests, is with 
more difficulty kept from sinking than one which hath but just 
enough to ballast it ; so it is more hard to keep him from sinking 
into hell that hath a great estate, than him that hath, according to 
Agur's wish, neither poverty nor riches. And the reason is, be- 
cause, though spiritual comforts run low, this rich man is contented, 
in regard that his temporal comforts run full-top. He makes up 
the absence of Christ with the presence of creatures, when, it may 


be, poverty might cause liim, as the prodigal, to think of returning 
to his Father's house, where is spiritual plenty. 

Quintus Aurelius, in the days of Sylla, had a fair grange, which 
lay convenient for some great person, which caused him to be put 
in among them that were to be put to death ; but as soon as he 
saw his name among those that were in the list, he cried out, My 
land at Alba hath killed me. 

Some men's lands have cost them their lives, and been the knife 
to cut the throat of their bodies ; but many a man's gold hath lost 
him his God, and been the knife to cut the throat of his soul. 
Rich men, like pampered horses, are the most unruly, leaping over 
the hedges of divine precepts, the hardlier kept within their bounds 
because full fed ; the young man's silver lost him his precious soul ; 
he went away from Christ sorrowful, because he had great posses- 
sions ; had the man been poor for a few days, he might have been 
rich for ever ; but alas, his wealth here, through the wickedness of 
his heart, caused his everlasting want ; whereupon Christ tells us, 
' How hardly shall a rich man enter into the kingdom of heaven ! 
I say unto you, that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye 
of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of hea- 
ven,' Mat. xix. 23, 24. Heaven is a stately palace with a narrow 
portal, through which this camel with his thick bunch of clay can 
hardly get. It is observed amongst anglers, that pickerels are not 
easily, nor often caught. A man may catch a hundred minums 
before he takes one pickerel ; and the reason is, he preyeth at plea- 
sure on the lesser fish, and therefore seldom hath any stomach to 
bite at the bait ; so it fareth with rich men, their stomachs are so 
cloyed with the things of this world, that they have no appetite to 
the dainties of the word, when the poor are gospelized. They con- 
tentedly take that for their portion which God intended only for 
their pension, and make their wealth their throne to sit down upon 
with delight, w^hich God designed for their footstool, and the faith- 
ful laid at the apostles' feet. 

In some fenny places in England, it is storied, where they are 
much troubled with gnats, the people hang up dung, to which 
when they fly they are caught with a net provided there for that 
purpose ; the dung of profit is the devil's bait, with which he catch- 
eth many persons. Well may it be called the ' mammon of un- 
righteousness,' for it both prompteth them to many sins, as well as 
pierceth them through with many sorrows. Gregory saith, that 
sitting in the see of Rome when it flourished, he trembled every 
time he thought on that text, ' Son, remember that thou hadst thy 

Chap. V.] by the key of regeneration. 81 

good things in thy lifetime/ lest his outward plenty should be all 
his portion. 

If, reader, thou art wealthy, be watchful over thy heart, lest, like 
birdlime, it hinder the wings of thy soul from mounting up to 
heaven. What the Egyptians said of the Israelites, ' They are en- 
tangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in,' Exod. xiv. 3, 
may fitly be applied to many men that are wealthy. They are en- 
tangled in the world, this wilderness hath shut them in. Like 
Lot's wife, they set out for the Zoar of heaven, but their hearts 
hanker after the Sodom of earth, and so they look back and perish 
in the way. Ah, it is rare indeed to be very rich and truly reli- 
gious. Such men are often taken out of the world before the world 
be taken out of them. 

Be careful, friend, if the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee in 
earthly enjoyments, that they prove not heavenly impediments ; that 
his mindfulness of thy body do not make thee forgetful of thy soul ; 
lest thy wealth, like Achan's wedge of gold, cleave thy soul in sunder. 

Fourthly, The old sinner is not easily converted, but, like an 
old maid when married, hath harder labour than ordinary. The 
longer the ground of man's heart lieth fallow, bringing forth nothing 
but weeds, unploughed up by repentance, the harder it groweth, and 
with the more difficulty is broken up. It was hard to cast out the 
devil who had for a long time possessed the man ; the apostles 
could not do it, and when Christ himself did it, it was not without 
much renting and raging, Mark ix. 21, 26. 

Common experience telleth us that a ship, the longer it leaketh, 
the harder it is to be emptied ; a house, the longer it goeth to 
ruin, the worse to repair; a nail, the farther it is driven in, the 
harder to get out. Christ raised two to life in the Gospel (besides 
others.) One was a maid newly dead, Luke viii. 54, to whom 
Christ spake but little : ' Maid, I say unto thee, arise ; ' and the 
work was quickly done. The other was one who had been dead so 
long till he stank. Now mark what work there was to enliven him, 
John xi. 41 : Christ weepeth, groaneth in spirit, prayeth to his 
Father, then turneth to Lazarus, and crieth with a loud voice, 
' Lazarus, come forth.' I only allude to it. When the sinner hath 
been but few years dead in sin, a low voice of Christ can raise him 
up, but when a man hath been not four days, but forty or fifty 
years rotting in the grave of corruption, that he stinks in the 
nostrils of others, it must be a loud voice indeed which must 
quicken him. How hard is it to turn the old swine, the old drunk- 
ard to temperance, and the old goat, the old adulterer, to chastity ! 

VOL. V. V 


Though they be so old that their bodies cannot act them, yet their 
hellish hearts affect them. When they have nothing left but the 
dog-days of their age, their bodies full of sores, yet their souls are 
fuller of sins. 

The longer the tree standeth in the ground, the more it roots, 
and the faster it settleth itself; so that, though a child might some 
time have removed it, yet now all the men in the parish cannot 
pluck it up : Jer. xiii. 23, ' Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or 
the leopard his spots ? then may ye also do good that are accustomed 
to do evil.' 

Custom in sin takes away all conscience of sin, and hardeneth 
the heart more against God and godliness. As a youth, when he 
first Cometh to be apprentice to some handicraft trade, his hand 
is very tender, and no sooner is it set to work but it blisters and 
puts him to pain ; but he continuing long at the trade, his hand 
hardens, and he can follow his work, not only without pain, 
but with much pleasure : so when a man is a young sinner, con- 
science is tender, like a queasy stomach, troubled much with the 
least thing that offends it ; but continuance in sin makes conscience 
seared and brawny, that afterwards the sinner, like the ostrich, 
can digest iron, and like the Turkish slaves, feed on opium, and 
his stomach not at all recoil or complain. It is reported of the 
Cretans, that when they cursed their enemies, they did not wish 
'fire in their houses, nor a dagger at their hearts, but that which 
■would bring greater woe, ut mala consuetudine delectentur, that they 
might delight in an evil custom ; for custom is not another nurture, 
but another nature, and that which is natural is not easily reduced. 

Some say there is no transplanting trees after seven years' rooting. 
I am sure it is hard to transplant them out of a state of nature into 
a state of grace who have been seventy years rooting in the earth. 
Old servants will not easily leave their masters ; they will many 
times have their ears bored and be everlasting slaves, rather than 
be made free. 

It is with old sinners, saith one,i as with them who have lived long 
under a government, they like to be as they are, though but ill, 
rather than to think of a change ; or like those who in a journey 
have gone out of their way all day ; such will rather take a new path 
over hedge and ditch, than think of going so far back to be set right. 

Old sinner, for the sake of thy soul proceed no farther. Knowest 
thou not that every step thou takest in thine unconverted state 
maketh thy condemnation more deep, thy condition more danger- 

^ Gurual's Armour. 

Chap. VI.] by the key of regeneration". 83 

ous, and thy conversion more difficult ? Is it not high time for 
thee to begin to work out thy salvation, when the sun of thy life is 
setting ? Ah, it is one of the saddest spectacles in the world, to be- 
hold a man full of silver hoary hairs, that is void of a golden sancti- 
fied heart. Surely of all men alive, thou hast cause to abound in 
sorrow, who dost to this day abide in thy sins. 


A use hy way of trial, lolierein the character of regenerate persons 
is set doiV7i, loith some quickening motives to examination. 

The second use which I shall make of this doctrine shall be by 
way of examination. If without the second birth thou canst not 
escape the second death, nor obtain eternal life, then, reader, try 
whether thou art new born or no ; commune with thy heart, and 
see whether this work be done, that thou mayest know how thou 
slialt fare in the other world : ' Wherefore, brethren, give diligence 
to make your calling and election sure,' 2 Pet. i. 10. The first 
fountain of our felicity is election ; and the manifestation of this 
is our calling. By vocation God bringeth to pass in time what he 
appointed from eternity. As a word is an outward thought, and a 
thought an inward word, so vocation is outward election, or election 
put into act and made visible ; and election is inward vocation, or 
God's intention to convert and save. Election is eternal calling ; 
calling is a temporal election ; so that by ensuring thy calling, 
thou ensurest thy election. Make thy calling sure ; be not satisfied 
to let thy salvation hang in suspense, to follow Christ as the people 
followed Saul, trembling, not knowing how it shall fare with thee ; 
but strive for full assurance, ' that an abundant entrance may be 
ministered unto you into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ,' 2 Peter i. 11. 

I have read of an old wicked usurer, who had nothing in his 
mouth but, It is good to be sure. If his servant went to receive 
money, he would follow after him, and being asked the reason, 
would answer. It is good to be sure. If he had told his money 
once, he would do it a second, yea, a third time, saying. It is good 
to be sure. If he locked his door himself, he would arise out of 
his bed to feel it locked, still pleading for his reason. It is good to 
be sure. It came to pass that this man fell desperately sick. His 
servant calleth to him — desirous to make him sensible of his sins — 


Master, have you been at prayers ? Yea, John, saith he. Sir, 
said the servant, go to prayers again ; you know it is good to be 
sure. That is more than needs, saith the usurer ; I am sure enough 
of that. Truly this man's heart is the resemblance of most men. 
They are all for security in bargains, sales, and purchases. If they 
buy an inheritance on earth, how sure will they make it ! The 
tenure shall be as strong as the brawn of the law, or the brains of 
lawyers, can devise. What bonds, deeds, fines, recoveries, leases, 
evidences, and, if any scruple, collateral security, are there to ensure 
it ! But, alas ! who ensures the inheritance above ? How few are 
there that take any pains to secure their right to those ever-living 
pleasures ! Like Jacob, though in another sense, men put their 
right hand of care, caution, and diligence upon the younger son, 
the body, and their left hand on the elder, the soul. How few 
make their calling and election sure ! 

But, reader, if thou would make sure thy predestination and 
fore-appointment to glory, it must be done by making sure thy re- 
generation and translation into a state of grace. Thou canst not 
ascend into heaven, and see thy name written in the Lamb's book 
of life, but thou mayest descend into thine own heart, and see it by 
the seeds and principles of a spiritual life ; as if any man would 
know whether the sun shineth or no, he need but look on the 
ground and see the reflection of its beams, and not on the body of 
the sun, which will but the more dazzle his eyes. The pattern is 
known by the picture, the cause by the effect, the original by the 
copy, election by regeneration. The soul that is conformed to 
God's law may know that he is enrolled in God's list. If I have 
chosen God, I may safely conclude that God hath chosen me. 

The historiani reporteth how a senator, relating to his son the 
great honours decreed to a number of soldiers whose names were 
written in a book, the son was importunate to see the book. The 
father shewed him the outside. It seemed so glorious that the son 
desired him to open it. By no means, saith the father ; it is 
sealed by the council. Then saith the son, Tell me if my name 
be there. The father saith. The names are secret to the senate. 
The son, studying how he might get some satisfaction, desired his 
father to declare the merits of those inscribed soldiers, which the 
father doing, and the son consulting with his own heart, found 
himself to be none of them. Reader, though the book of life, 
which includeth the names of those whose heads are destined to 
glorious diadems be secret, yet the deserts of those inscribed there 

^ Tacitus. 

Chap. VI.] by the key of regeneration. 85 

are open ; they are as a chosen generation, a peculiar people, 
so also a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a called company, a sancti- 
fied society, a regenerated remnant ; they are culled out of the 
world, called by the word, separated for the service of the Lord ; 
they are born of the Spirit, brought up in the Spirit, and they 
walk after the Spirit. The task therefore which I now set thee, is 
to try whether thou art one of these — whether thou art born again, 
without which thou canst not see the kingdom of Grod. 

Now, though the commandment of God be argument and reason 
enough to a Christian why he should examine himself whether he 
be in the faith or no, 2 Cor. xiii. 5 — for a true subject dares not 
deny any coin which hath the image and stamp of his sovereign 
upon it — yet I shall give thee two or three thoughts to stir thee 
up to the trial of thyself. 

First, Consider that thy all hangs on this hinge of regeneration. 
All that thou art worth for thine unchangeable estate in the other 
world dependeth on this ; this is the foundation of that hope, that 
building which reacheth to heaven. Now it is dangerous to err in 
fundamentals ; the stability of the building depends on the strength 
of the foundation. For a man to go out of his way at the first 
setting out is saddest of all. Regeneration is the beginning of 
Christianity in thee ; nay, thy interest in all the unsearchable 
riches in Christ standeth on this : if regenerated, then thy sins are 
pardoned, thy person accepted, God is thy Father, Jesus Christ 
thy husband and Saviour, the Spirit thy comforter, the promises 
are thy portion, heaven thy home ; but if thou art not adorned with 
the pious fruits of Christ's Spirit, thou art not interested in the 
precious fruits of his merits ; therefore make sure here. God will 
deal with thee to eternity according to thy having or wanting this. 
Now doth it not concern thee to beware of cozening thyself here, 
when a mistake in this will make thee miserable for ever? If 
ever any tresses had need be strong, then surely they which draw 
such a weight as thine endless welfare. Where men intend to 
dwell long, they build strong. Soldiers use tents which have no 
foundation, because they intend but a short stay in them. Thou 
lookest for a city which hath a foundation. Friend, hath thy 
expectation of it any foundation? Wouldst thou build slightly 
for a dwelling of eternity ? Zeuxis being asked why he was so 
exact in painting, answered, because he painted for eternity. Lines 
which concern eternity had need be exactly drawn ; and deeds and 
marks, and all things indeed which concern eternity, had need to 
be exq^uisitely done. If a merchant venture all his estate in one 


vessel, and where there is much hazard in the voyage, how full of 
fear and care will he be lest the ship should miscarry, himself and 
his family be ruined ! Many a sad thought will he have in the 
day as sour sauce to his food, and possibly many an aching heart 
in the night to keep him waking. He is even like to be beside 
himself, so much is he perplexed ; and ask him the reason, he will 
tell you, I think I have cause. All that I am worth is ventured in 
that bottom : should it be lost and perish, we are all lost ; my wife, 
self, and children must all perish. Thus the man lives in little 
ease both day and night, till at last he considereth with himself of 
what concernment the safety of that vessel is to him ; he resolveth, 
and accordingly goeth to the insurer's office and insureth his whole 
estate, and then he is satisfied ; those fears which, like weights, 
hung on the clock of his heart, and would not suffer it to rest, are 
now taken off, and he eats his bread with cheerfulness, and drinks 
his wine with a merry heart ; he can in all conditions be contented, 
because his all is insured. 

Thus, reader, regeneration is the vessel in which all that thou 
art worth, not for this present perishing, but for the other ever- 
lasting world, is ventured ; if that be sound, thine endless welfare 
is safe ; if that be feigned and lame, thou art lost for ever. How 
canst thou take any comfort in the abundance of fading creatures 
whilst thy all, thine eternity, is in danger ? Oh go to the insuring 
office, bring thy riches, thy silver, to the balance of the sanctuary, 
and thereby try whether it hath its full weight ! 

Man, what sayest thou to this reason for self-examination ? Is it 
not of unspeakable weight ? and I shall shew thee that it is of 
unquestionable truth. Doth not the living God tell thee, that 
except thou art born again, thou shalt not see his kingdom ? Doth 
he not say expressly that without are dogs ? Rev. xxii. 15. The 
Father's house is only for children ; dogs must be without doors. 
Pharaoh's court admitted of vermin, but I can assure you that God's 
will not : ' Into it can in no wise enter anything that is defiled or 
unclean,' Eev. xxi. 27. Impure persons can never get into the 
most holy place. Heaven must be in thee before thou canst be in 
heaven. It was a good inscription which a bad man wrote on the 
door of his house. Per me nihil inti^et mali: Let no evil pass 
through me. Whereupon said Diogenes, Quomodo ingredietur 
dominus ? How then shall the master get into his own house ? 
That inscription without question agreeth with the celestial habi- 
tation. There is nothing there but what is holy : the Father is 
holy, John xvii. 11 ; the holy child Jesus, Acts xiv. 27 ; the Holy 

Chap, VI.] by the key of regeneration. 87 

Ghost, Acts xxi. 11 ; tlie creatures there are holy, the holy angels, 
Mark viii. 38 ; the saints, or holy men and women, Heb. xii. 23 ; 
the work and eternal employment there is holiness ; the servants 
wait on their master without sinning, as well as without ceasing; 
the song there is ' Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,' Eev. iv. 
8 ; canst thou therefore think without holiness to get thither ? 

Secondly, Consider that God will try thee. He knoweth now 
what thou art, whether dross or gold, and he will shortly bring 
thee to the fire, and make thee known both to thyself and others. 
Though the waters of thy corruptions may run for a time under 
ground, and be hidden from the eyes of men, yet they will at length 
appear. Thou art at present all crystal to God ; he needeth not, 
as Momus would have, a window into thy breast, for he seeth thee 
thoroughly ; he seeth thy inwards more perfectly than thou and 
others can see thy outward parts. ' The fining pot is for silver, 
and the furnace for gold, but the Lord trieth the heart,' Prov. xvii. 
3. He hath a thread which leadeth him unerringly through the 
labyrinth of thy heart. He needeth no serious inquisition about 
thee, for he knoweth thee by immediate intuition. He walks 
through the road of thy heart every hour ; therefore it concerneth 
thee not to balk it. 

He will try thee probably in life, but certainly at death and 
judgment ; and shouldst not thou then try thyself ? God may try 
thee in thy life by prosperity ; he may give thee strong meat, and 
thereby examine thy stomach whether it be good or bad ; he may 
let the world flow in upon thee to try how thy affections will flow 
out upon it ; believe it, rich wines will try thy brains. It is said 
of Pius Quintus (so called, because) that when he was a mean man 
he was looked upon as a good man, and had great hopes of his own 
salvation ; but when he came to be a cardinal he doubted much 
about it, and when he was a pope he altogether despaired of it ; 
thus the place doth often discover the person. ^ Hot waters will 
manifest whether there be life in a man or no ; and a full great 
wind will try whether the vessel of thy soul be ballasted with grace 
or no. It is said of Caius Caligula there was never better servant 
nor worse master. Poisonous and profitable roots are both dis- 
covered in summer, though they were hid all the winter. That 
corruption which lay in the body undiscerned, when the season was 
cold, breaks out either in the face by pimples, or in the other parts 
by some disease, when the weather is warm. But it is more likely 
that God will try thee by adversity. God telleth Jerusalem that 

'■ Ma^istratus indicat virum. 


he would search her with candles, Zeph. i. 12 ; that is, as exactly 
as men search with candles, prying into every corner of the house : 
so God of the heart, bringing forth their secret ways, revealing 
their hidden wickedness. The words imply both the manner, how 
exactly God would do it, and the means, how terribly he would do 
it by some dreadful judgment; he would kindle a fire, and search 
them by the light of that fire. Reader, if thou wilt not search thy 
soul by the sunlight of his word, expect that he should search thee 
by the candlelight, the firelight, of his dreadful works. The flail 
of tribulation will discover the chaff from the wheat ; and the fire 
of affliction, the dross from the gold. Sharp weather will try 
whether thy body be sound or sickly. A storm will discover the 
mariner, and a battle the soldier. God led Israel about in the 
wilderness to try and to prove them, Deut. viii. 16. Afiliction is like 
Solomon's sword, that discovereth which is the true, which the false 
mother ; or like Simeon's sword, which pierceth through men's souls, 
that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. 

Now, friend, if God will try thee by some sharp affliction, is it 
not better to prevent this by self-examination ? It may be, God 
may try thee by disgrace, or loss of thy whole estate, or by loss of 
liberty, limbs, or life ; now how wilt thou do to bid adieu to all 
earthly comforts for Jesus Christ? to welcome a prison, kiss a 
stake, smile at torments, look a violent death in the face with colour 
in thy cheeks and courage in thy heart, to endure this fiery trial by 
God, that didst never try thyself beforehand ? ' If thou hast run 
with footmen, and they wearied thee, how wilt thou do to run with 
horsemen ? ' Jer. xii. 5. If self-trial in thy chamber or closet 
(where are none but God and thy conscience to be witnesses, and 
Scripture to be judge of the controversy) be so irksome and grievous 
to thee, how tedious will thy trial be by flames and torments ! 
Believe it, when thou comest to the fire it will be known whether 
thou art a full or an empty pitcher. Blessed Bilney tried his finger 
by himself in the candle, before his whole body in the flames at the 
stake. ' gather yourselves together,' saith the prophet, Zeph. 
ii. 1 — ' Gather yourselves together, before the decree bring forth, 
before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord 
come upon you.' Tremellius reads it, Excutite vos, verumque excutite. 
Examine, unskin yourselves, rip yourselves up, dissect, anatomise 
your entrails ; it is doubled, to shew the fervency and earnestness 
of God for it, the necessity and weight of it, and man's antipathy 
and averseness to it : before the decree bring forth, &c., before the 
judgment which is now in the womb of the threatening come to the 

Chap. VI.] by the key of regeneration, 89 

birth of execution. O friend, search thyself faithfully, or be con- 
fident that God will search thee dreadfully. Now, as Job told his 
friends, ' Is it good that God should search thee out?' Job xiii. 9. 
Is it good that he should, as a surgeon, eat out thy dead senseless 
flesh by some stinging corrosive, and cure thee of thy lethargy by 
putting thee into a violent fever ? The scholar that will not scan 
his own verses, and try them by the rule, finds that his master can 
make him do it under the rod. If God have thoughts of everlast- 
ing favour towards thee, he will force thee to know and try thyself 
by some seasonable fire ; he will so shake the tree that it shall be 
known whether the fruit be rotten or sound. 

If God should not try and discover thee to thyself in this world, 
yet he will certainly in the other world, at the night of death, and 
in the day of judgment : death will try thee, that will be strong 
physic, which will fully discover thy constitution. Two or more 
children play together all day ; but when night comes, one child 
goeth to his father, the other to his father, every one to his own 
father ; it may be they were like one another, that strangers knew 
not, yea, nor neighbours, to whom they belonged, whose child was 
this, or whose child is that ; but when night comes, one father owns 
his child, takes him home ; the other father calls his child to him, 
takes him into his house. Thus while men live they are not so well 
discovered, whether they are of God, or of their father the devil ; 
but when the night of death comes, they are tried to whom they 
belong : he that is born of God goeth to his Father's house ; he 
that is of his father the devil, goeth, with Judas, to his own place. 
Rottenest stuffs are oftenest watered, the deformedest faces are 
usually painted, but the shower of death will wipe and wash all off. 

Now if thou wouldst be gathered to thy Father in peace, examine 
and prove thyself ; make sure that there be some good thing in 
thee towards the Lord thy God. Oh how sad will it be for thee, 
who art now asleep, to awake, like the jailer, at the midnight of 
death, and to find thy evidences for the new birth, as he his pris- 
oners in his own apprehension, missing ! what an earthquake and 
heartquake will then possess thee ! how pale and trembling wilt 
thou spring into the presence of God, in the other world, for thy 
particular judgment ! Ah, how sad will it be to err, to mistake 
then, when an error can never, never be mended ! when a mistake 
will prove soul-murder, an everlasting miscarriage ! Oh, it is bad 
for the vessel of thy soul to leak, to mistake, in the shallow waters 
of life and time ; but oh how sad will it be to be mistaken at an 
hour of death, and thereby to leak in the ocean of eternity ! Speed, 


in his Chronicles, observeth, that in the dnjs of Henry VIII., 
Campius, the pope's legate, came through the streets of London 
with twenty mules laden, to shew his pomp; but as the triumph 
passed through Cheapside, the beasts stumbled, brake their collars, 
cast their coffers, and then the lids flying open, discovered his 
riches to be nothing but old shoes and boots, torn stockings, old 
iron, and tattered rags. I tell thee, reader, though now thou 
mayest be wondered at for thy spiritual wealth, yet as soon as thou 
stumblest into the other world, it will be tried, it will be known, 
whether they be real or imaginary riches. 

Paul told his Corinthians, 1 Cor. iv. 19, ' I will come to you 
shortly, and will know, not the speech of them that are puffed up, 
but the power: for the kingdom of God is not in word, but in 
power. What will ye ? shall I come to you with a rod, or in love ? ' 
friend, not Paul, but Jesus Christ himself will come to thee by 
death shortly, and will know, not thy speech, in being puffed up 
with a shadow of profession, but the power, and try whether thou 
hast the substance of religion. Now man, what wilt thou ? shall 
he come to thee with a rod, or in love ? shall he send good angels 
to guard thee to heaven, or evil angels to drag thee to hell ? 

When David was going to encounter with Goliath, he told Saul 
that he could not go with the armour which Saul had put on him, 
because he had not proved it, 1 Sam. xvii. 39 ; and darest thou 
enter the list against a far greater enemy, even death, with that 
armour which was never proved ? Be confident, if thou tightest 
without armour of proof, death will foil thee. 

The day of judgment will try thee; then naked breasts will be 
in fashion, and God will rip thee open before the world ; nay, if 
thou wilt not now examine thyself to thy conversion, he will ex- 
amine thee then to thy confusion, when the judge shall be a 
consuming fire, and the whole world be in a flame, and thou be 
tried by a fiery law, Heb. xii. 28 ; 1 Pet. iii. 10 ; Deut. xxxiii. 2. 
It was a sharp kind of examination by which Paul was examined, 
Acts xxii. 14. The chief captain commanded that he should be 
examined by scourging. It is a sad kind of examination by which 
many countries examine malefactors, upon the rack, putting them to 
exquisite pains. 

Keader, remember that if thou dost not examine thyself at this 
day, God will examine thee at the last day, and it will be an ex- 
amination upon the rack, an examination with scourging ; it will be 
a word and a wound ; every blow will fetch blood ; every interroga- 
tion will be a stabbing, stinging, killing question. When Christ 

Chap. VI.] by the key of regeneration. 91 

shall say to thee, Sinner, how diclst thou dare thus to cozen and 
undo thy soul ? what madness possessed thee thus to dally about 
matters of infinite and endless moment ? Hadst thou examined 
thyself according to my word, and found thyself lost, there had 
then been some hopes of life ; but I tell thee now it is too late. 
Well, I will rip thee open before angels and men, and cause thy 
conscience, with its gnawing worm and stinging gripes, to examine 
thee eternally. The fire of hell shall try what metal thou art, that 
will prove thee to purpose. friend, think of this seriously and 
speedily, for that day of Christ will declare thee ; and alas, alas, 
who shall abide the day of his trial, or who shall stand when he 
appeareth ? for he is like refiner's fire, and as fuller's soap. All 
things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom thou shalt 
then have to do. If thou art afraid to venture a trial in the low 
court of conscience, where his word shall be thy judge, with what 
fear and trembling wilt thou appear at his bar, when he that search- 
eth thine heart, trieth thy reins, and will reward thee according to 
thy works, shall sit upon the bench ? Therefore cast up thy ac- 
counts before God and thy soul, whilst there is hope of making all 
even, lest thou do as some tradesmen, who neglect so long to cast 
up their books, till at last their books cast them up. 

Thirdly, Consider it is possible to know whether thou art new 
born or no. I do not set thee to beat the air, or to work at the 
labour-in-vain. A Christian may be assured of his regeneration, 
and thereby of his salvation. They which have the law of God 
written in their hearts, may be able to read it. David, when his 
deeds and evidences were not blotted with his foul offences, could 
discern them clearly : ' Thy law is within my heart,' Ps. xl. 8. 
When the sun ariseth he bringeth his natural light with him, 
whereby he is discovered to the world. A diamond set in a gold 
ring bringeth such orient sparkling with it, that it causeth men to 
discern it ; truly, so the Sun of righteousness, when he ariseth in 
the soul, bringeth a spiritual light along with him, which helpeth 
the new creature to behold him, and the diamond of grace casteth 
such a sparkling lustre in the heart of a Christian, that it thereby 
becomes visible. 

Regeneration makes a wonderful change and alteration ; now 
great alterations of state are not without observation. Doth a king- 
dom change its governor, a cruel arbitrary tyrant, that fleeced them, 
and slew them at pleasure, for a mild, merciful, peaceable prince, 
that ruleth them with a righteous sceptre, and not take notice of 
it ? Can a creature change his master, sin and flesh, for Christ 


and his Spirit ; his work of serving divers hists and pleasure, Tit, 
iii. 3, for serving the Lord with singleness of heart, and not observe 
it ? When the man is new made, Christ cometh into his heart with 
his Spirit, graces, gospel. Great guests, when they come into a 
house, have many eyes upon them ; the King of glory doth not 
come with such a train and retinue in secret ; the gradual change 
from grace to grace is not so visible ; but a specifical change from 
nature to grace is undoubtedly sensible. When the ground, that be- 
fore brought forth nothing but weeds and thistles, comes to bring 
forth wheat, an ordinary person may perceive the difference, though 
how this wheat groweth is not so perceptible. Every new creature 
doth not know the time, nor manner, nor means of his conversion, 
but every one may know that he is converted ; the mother doth not 
know how she comes to be quick, but she knoweth that she is quick, 
for she feeleth the child to stir in her womb ; how the shadow 
moveth on the dial we cannot see, but that it moveth we see plainly, 
in that it is opposite at night to the place where it was at noon. 
Though conversion be not ever sensible in the act, yet it is sen- 
sible enough by its effects ; and the reason why it is not in all alike 
visible, is because it is not in all alike violent. God converteth 
some by Boanerges, sons of thunder ; others by a Barnabas, a 
son of consolation. To some he comes, as on mount Sinai, Exod. 
xix., with thunderings, lightnings, and a great noise ; to others, as 
to Elijah, with a still small voice, 1 Kings xix. 12. The Spirit 
falls down on some, as on the apostles, like a mighty rushing wind, 
or like fire shaking and scorching them, Acts ii. 2, 3 ; on others, as 
on Jesus Christ, in the shape of a dove, dealing mildly and meekly 
with them. The jailer is brought home by an earthquake, and an 
heartquake, Acts xvi. 29, when the door of Lydia's heart is opened 
softly, and Jesus Christ entereth in without any noise. Acts xvi. 
14. Some in a swoon are revived only by pouring a little hot 
water down their throats, whereas others must be rubbed hard, and 
beaten sore before they will come to themselves again : Cant. vi. 12, 
' Ere I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.' 
Some have been infamous for pleasure in sin, and such are 
usually made more apprehensive of the ]3ain due to sinners ; God 
bringeth all home by weeping-cross, but them especially that have 
been most wicked. The physician is forced to give strong physic 
to such sturdy, strong patients, otherwise it will not work. A man 
that is an old sinner is like one that hath had a bone long out of 
joint, and is festered ; this man must feel much pain before it be 
brought into its right place. 

Chap. VI.] by the key of eegeneration. 93 

Sometimes God intendeth to lift a soul high with spiritual con- 
solations ; and, to prepare it for them, he layeth it low with legal 
humiliation. We throw the ball hard against the ground, when we 
intend that it shall bound high. Paul was forcibly cast to the 
earth, before he was favourably caught up to the third heaven. 

Some are designed to be high in holiness — eminent patterns of 
piety to others ; and such are often filled with sorrow, and do, more 
than others, feel the smart of sin. When the workman will make his 
building high and exact, he layeth the foundation deep and low. 

God is not limited : he dealeth with men as he seeth good. It 
is his will, and that is reason enough, that all his children should 
not be brought forth with the same pain. He hath several medi- 
cines, whereof some are more sweet, others more sour, for the cure 
of their spiritual maladies, and he applieth them as it pleaseth 

Now, when the Spirit of God worketh most forcibly, then the 
man perceiveth it most sensibly. Besides, some men and women 
have had inclinations towards God and godliness ever since they 
came to any knowledge ; they sucked the milk of grace betimes 
from the breast of their parents, I mean their religious education. 
Obadiah feared the Lord from his youth, 1 Kings xviii. 12 ; 
Timothy from a child knew the holy Scriptures ; the dews of 
grace were dropt from heaven upon their souls early, in the morn- 
ing of their age. And in such cases conversion, as to the time and 
manner of it, is under a cloud ; for, as he that is locked up in some 
dark dungeon may easily discover the moment of time when either 
the least beam of the sun, or glimmering of daylight did break in 
upon him ; whereas he that is always in the open air is sensible 
that the daylight is broke, that the sun is risen, but cannot tell 
you precisely when the day sprang, or the sun rose ; so some that 
have been betimes put out apprentices to the devil by their parents, 
been tauglit that hellish trade of sin, and nurtured in obstinacy 
and ignorance, being locked up and fettered in the dungeon of 
darkness, as Peter in prison ; these men may easily remember the 
time when the day-star from on high did visit them ; when the 
Angel of the Covenant came upon them and caused a light to shine 
about them, and raised them up, and caused their fetters to fall 
off, the prison door to fly open, and commanded them to arise 
and follow him. But those that were ever in the open air — 
brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, like 
vessels when seasoned with holiness — those cannot tell you the day 
when salvation came to their souls ; they can tell you the day is 


broke, but when they know not. One thing they know, ' that 
whereas they were blind, now they see,' but how they came by 
their sight they cannot certify you ; they can tell you that they 
are sanctified, but the season of it they cannot tell. Reader, 
though the time and manner of this work makes the knowledge of 
it more easy and sensible to some than to others, yet to all it is 

God's precepts speak it possible: Grod requireth of his people 
such things as would be to no purpose if they could not be assured 
of their grace and purity. He commandeth to examine them- 
selves whether they are in the faith or no, 2 Cor. xiii. 5. Now, to 
what purpose or end should the law of Clod be produced, the per- 
son's heart and life compared with it, witnesses be examined, the 
man thus arraigned in the court of conscience, if the matter in de- 
bate could not be brought to an issue, if it could not be known 
whether he be sanctified or not ? God bids us make our calling 
and election sure, 2 Pet. i. 10, therefore they may be ensured. 
We are enjoined to pray with confidence, and to call God Father, 
Heb. X. 22 ; Mat. vi. 9 ; which certainly none can do, if none can 
know that they are his children. 

The apostle tells us that we must rejoice in the Lord, Phil. iii. 1, 
and that always, 1 Thes. v. IG, even in tribulation, Mat. v. 10, 
which who can do if he know not whether God be his friend or 
enemy ? 

Besides, the promises of God shew it possible: John xiv. 21, ' I 
will love him,' that keepeth my commandments, ' and manifest 
myself unto him,' saith Christ ; Isa. Ix. 16 ; Ps. 1. 23, and Ixxxv. 
8, 9. Now, what God's mercy promiseth, his truth performeth. 

The helps likewise which God afi'ords us speak this feasible. 
The Scripture setteth down the signs of the men and women 
which are sanctified, and which shall be saved : ' And hereby we 
know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.' To know 
that we know him is to be assured that we know him : 1 John v. 13, 
' These things have I written unto you that believe on the name 
of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life.' 
Mark, they did believe before, yet St John writes that they might 
believe ; they had before the faith of adherence, John writes to 
them that they might have the faith of assurance. The sacraments 
are also given as broad seals, and the Spirit as the privy seal of 
heaven, to ensure salvation, Rom. iv. 11 ; Eph. i. 30. 

In a word, the pattern and experiences of the saints speak this 
possible ; that which others have acquired is not impossible to us. 

Chap. VI.] by the key of regeneration, 95 

The children of God have been assured of their adoption, that God 
was their Father, Isa. Ixiii. 16 ; 1 John iii. 2 : ' Though Abraham 
be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not : doubtless thou 
art our Father ; thou, Lord art our Father, and our Redeemer/ 
They have been assured of their justification, Job xiii. 18 ; 
Ps. xlv. 24 ; perseverance in grace, 1 Thes. v. 25 ; Eom. viii. 35, 
to the end; of their right to glory and salvation: 2 Cor. v. 1, 
' We know that when the houses of our earthly tabernacles shall 
be dissolved, we shall enjoy a building of God, an house not made 
with hands, but eternal in the heavens.' So 2 Tim, iv. 7. 8 ; 
Job xix. 25 ; 2 Tim. i. 12. And all this assurance of adoption, 
justification, perseverance in grace, fruition of glory, which saints 
have, doth proceed from their assurance of their regeneration : 
1 John iii. 14, ' We know that we are passed from death to life, 
because we love the brethren.' Regeneration or holiness is the first 
fruits which do ensure the harvest, and the earnest which doth 
confirm the bargain, and ensure the full sum. 

Now, reader, having given thee some motives to quicken thee 
to try thy soul, I shall lay down the marks, and bring thee to 
the test ; and they shall be taken from the nature and effects of 

First, Examine thine heart by the nature of this true holiness. 
Now there are two things in the nature of this new creature. In 
every birth there is generatio unius et corruptio alterius, saith the 
philosopher, something generated and something destroyed ; so in 
this new birth there is the production of grace, and the destruction 
of vice ; the life of righteousness, and the death of sin ; the setting 
up of the ark, and the throwing down of Dagon, The sinfulness of 
our souls by our first births consisteth in their aversion from God 
and good, and in their conversion to the evil one and evil ; in 
having the image of Satan imprinted on them, and the image of 
God blotted out of them. The sanctity of our souls by their second 
births consisteth in their conversion to God, and their aversion 
from sin ; in having the image of the devil razed out of them, and 
the image of the Saviour stamped on them. ' As we have borne the 
image of the earthly, so we must bear the image of the heavenly.' 
And these two parts of the good part, are like two buckets in a 
well, as the one, namely, the interest of God, cometh up, the other, 
namely, the interest of sin and Satan, goeth down ; the higher the 
sun getteth, the more still it scattereth the darkness. 

First, There is in this new nature a dying to sin. The apostle 
calleth it a putting off the old man, Eph. iv. 22, and a dying 


to sin, Eom. vi. 11. Conversion, like the shipman's fatal star, is 
never seen but before the wreck and death of sin. The spring of 
grace is a living fountain, and cleanseth itself of mire and dirt. 
Grace, like Christ, increaseth, and sin, like the Baptist, decreaseth. 
The expression of the Holy Grhost about this is worthy our 
serious consideration : Eom. vi. 6, ' Knowing this, that our old 
man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, 
that henceforth we should not serve sin ; for he that is dead is 
freed from sin.' Lo, here sin is served by Christ the same sauce 
which it formerly served Christ. Sin crucified him when he came 
in the likeness of sinful flesh, and he slayeth it when he cometh 
into the soul by his Spirit ; but, in the words of the apostle, observe 
sin's appellation and its execution. For its appellation it is called, 
first, ' the old man,' partly because it is derived and propagated from 
Adam, the eldest of men ; partly in comparison of renovation, and 
renewing the whole man. It is called, secondly, ' the body of sin,' 
partly because man's corrupt nature, like a body or stock, brancheth 
forth into divers actual sins as members. Col. iii. 5 ; Gal. v. 19 ; 
partly because of the strength of it, as also because men are as much 
naturally in love with their sins as with themselves. But take 
notice of the execution of this old man, of this body of sin, in the 
regenerate. The old man ' is crucified.' Sin, like an old man in 
them which are new made, doth decay and decline every day ; it 
is every hour growing weaker and weaker, and nearer to its grave 
and utter abolition. Kegeneration giveth sin its death's wound, 
though, as those that are crucified, it dieth lingeringly, yet it dieth 
certainly. Sin, like a man in a consumption, in a converted person 
is always wasting and dying, till at last it is quite dead. One 
that is mortally wounded sprawleth and moveth for a time, but 
afterwards giveth up the ghost ; so sin, while saints live, though it 
be mortally wounded, doth rage and stir, but it abateth in strength, 
and dieth with them. 

St Augustine relateth of the serpent, that when she groweth old, 
she draweth herself through a narrow hole, and by this means, 
stripping off her old skin, she reneweth her age.l Truly thus the 
Christian is made new, by putting off the old coat of the old man. 

The Scripture speaketh expressly : ' He that is born of God sin- 
neth not,' 1 John iii. 9, that is, constantly ; sin is not his design or 
employment ; 2 and cheerfully, sin is not his delight or element, for 

1 De Civit. Dei, lib. viii. cap. 6. 

^ Ambulare in peccatis est sic versari in peccatis ut in vocatione sua ordinaria. — 
Daven. in Col. ii. 

Chap. VI.] by the key of regeneration. 97 

sin is against his new nature. Now a man can do nothing against 
his nature cordially or constantly ; sin may rebel within him, but 
it cannot reign over him ; he looks on sin as his greatest enemy, 
and therefore it is impossible that he should converse with it in a 
way of amity. Nay, as fire and water, heat and cold, never meet 
but they fight, so this new life is in continual war with every lust : 
the new creature is like unto God, of purer eyes than to behold 
iniquity, Hab. i. 13. The evil of sin cannot ordinarily get a good 
look from him ; he cannot meet this ugly guest in any corner of his 
house but his heart riseth against him ; he considereth what a Lord 
sin displeaseth, what a law sin transgresseth, what a beautiful image 
sin defaceth, what a glorious name sin dishonoureth, what a lovely, 
loving Saviour sin buffeted shamefully and tortured cruelly, what 
a precious soul and peerless salvation sin was like to have lost him 
eternally. And oh it is a killing look which this soul giveth his 
dearest lust ! Ah, thinks he, that ever my nature should hatch 
and harbour such hideous monsters ! that ever my heart should be 
a polluted bed to breed and bring forth such a poisonous brood ! 
It was my iniquity that bade defiance to the highest Majesty ; it was 
my corruption which scourged the back, wounded the head, nailed 
the feet and hands, yea, pierced the very heart of Jesus Christ ; my 
wickedness was the weight which caused his bloody sweat ; my 
lust was the murderer which put to death the Lord of life ; it was 
my covetousness which betrayed him, my cowardliness which con- 
demned him, and my cruelty which executed him ; and shall I be 
a friend to that traitor which was a foe to my Eedeemer ! Well, 
whatever it cost me, through the strength of Christ I will have 
justice upon these murderers ; through the help of heaven, these 
brats of hell shall have their brains dashed out. His great care is 
every day to conquer his corruptions. The body of sin and death, 
to which he is tied, is as noisome to his soul as a dead body to his 
senses. Lust is as burdensome to him as a withered arm, which 
hangs on a man like a lump of lead. Never did prisoner more 
ardently desire to be rid of his fetters, than this saint to be freed 
from subjection to his sins. The distressed Jews did not groan so 
much under their Egyptian slavery as this true Israelite for spiri- 
tual liberty : ' wretched man that I am,' saith he, ' who shall 
deliver me from this body of sin and death?' Rom. vii. 24. His 
great end and endeavour, in every providence and every ordinance, 
is, not the repression, but the ruin of this evil of sin. If the sun 
of mercy shine warm upon him, he makes use of it to put out the 
kitchen-fire of wickedness. When God solaceth his spirit with 

VOL. V. G 


extraordinary kindness, the sacrifice of thanksgiving that he offereth 
up is the beast of some sin which he layeth on the altar, and poureth 
forth its blood before the Lord. When the storm of affliction 
ariseth, he inquireth for the Jonah which raised the tempest, and 
endeavoureth that he may be cast overboard and drowned. 

And as he makes use of divine providences, so likewise of divine 
ordinances, for the weakening his corruptions. 

In prayer, like the sick child, he pointeth at the place of his 
pain ; he indicteth, accuseth, and condemneth sin, and entreateth 
that it may be executed ; his prayers and tears are his daily 
weapons wherewith he fighteth against his most inward and secret 
wickedness. When he perceiveth lust, like Adonijah, usurping 
the throne of his heart, he goethunto God, as Bathsheba to David, 
sighing and saying, Did not my Lord promise his servant that 
the true Solomon should reign in my soul ? that Jesus Christ, the 
Prince of peace, should sway the sceptre in my spirit ? And now, 
behold, his foes, which thou hast sworn to make his footstool, have 
traitorously aspired to the crown, and forcibly made me subject to 
their commands. As Esther, he is very desirous of these Hamans' 
destruction, and watcheth continually for a fit opportunity to pre- 
sent his petition to the King of kings for that end ; and when in 
any duty he seeth the God of glory to hold out the golden sceptre 
of mercy towards him, oh then he beggeth for justice : If I have 
found favour in thy sight, King, and if it please the King, let 
the life of my soul be given me at my petition, and the death of 
my sins at my request. Did thy dear Son die for sin, and shall 
thy poor servant live in sin ? Shall not these thine enemies, which 
would not have thee to reign over me, be slain before thy face ? 
' Order my steps by thy word, and let not any iniquity have domi- 
nion over me,' Ps. cxix. 133, Thus by prayer, as by one main 
piece of his spiritual armour, he becomes prevalent. The Eomans 
overcame their enemies sitting, (that is, the senate by their pru- 
dent counsels,) but the Christian kneeling ; by his holy valour he 
wrestleth with God, and through the power of Christ gets the 
victory, 2 Cor. xii. 6. 

And because the devil of some lusts will not be cast out without 
fasting and prayer, therefore he joineth fasting to supplication, and 
trieth to starve his corruptions. Beforehand he fitteth himself for 
that day of purging out his ill-humours, by the preparatory potion 
of meditation. The consideration of his sins, how bloody and 
heinous in their nature, how crying and crimson in their circum- 
stances, makes his physic work the better. He thinketh before : 

Chap. VI.] by the key of regeneration. 99 

The day of mourning for (offending) my Father is coming, and 
then I will slay my brother Jacob, my dearest and nearest sin. 
This man bringeth under his natural body, which he may lawfully 
cherish, that he may abate the strength of the body of death ; as 
men sometimes in a fever open a vein and let out their blood, 
though it be not bad, that they may weaken their enemy. 

In reading and hearing the law of God, he setting his lusts 
naked before that sword of the Spirit, that they may be hewn by 
the prophets, and slain by the words of God's mouth. He desires 
that it may pierce deep, to the dividing of soul and spirit, of the 
joints and marrow, and to the discovering of the thoughts and 
intents of his heart. His voice to the minister is like the prophet's 
to his neighbour, ' Smite me, I pray thee ;' and likes him best that 
in smiting wounds his sin most. He approves of that chirurgeon 
that searcheth his wounds thoroughly, though he put him to pain ; 
he rejoiceth that the preacher revealeth to him his errors, that he 
may follow them with hue and cry till they are taken and punished, 
and so God's pursuit of him may be prevented. If the minister 
give him a bitter pill of reproof, he doth not, like a queasy stomach, 
favour his malady and loathe his medicine, but takes it down 
willingly, knowing that, though such things be not toothsome, 
yet they are wholesome, and that they must be bitter things 
that break the bag of worms in his stomach ; sweet things will 
nourish and cherish them. He is glad that the word is fire, 
that thereby his dross may be consumed ; that it is water, be- 
cause his heart thereby may be washed and purified. ' He 
hideth the word in his heart, that he may not sin against God,' 
Ps. cxix. 11. 

He goeth to the Lord's supper, that the blood of his sins may be 
shed by the blood of the Saviour. The cross of Christ is the soul's 
armour and sin's terror ; there is life in it for the death of sin. 
Pliny saith that the fasting spittle of a man will kill serpents. 
Sure I am the blood of Christ, applied by faith, will mortify sin, 
and therefore the saint frequenteth the sacrament. He goeth to 
it, as Naaman to Jordan, to be cured of his spiritual leprosy ; when 
he approacheth the table of the Lord, and seeth, in the bread 
broken, and the wine poured out, by faith, Jesus Christ crucified 
before his eyes, oh how his heart burneth within him in hatred 
and indignation against his sin, and in desires after, and delight in, 
his Eedeemer. He beholdeth there the knives of his pride, unbe- 
lief, hypocrisy, malice, and the like, all redded in the blood of the 
Mediator ; and now his eyes sparkle with fire and fury, and his soul 


swelleth with wrath and revenge against them ; were but his hand 
answerable to his heart, I mean his power to his will, he would put 
sin to as much pain, make it suffer as much shame, cause it to 
undergo as cursed a death, as ever Jesus Christ did. Now this 
frame of spirit is exceedingly pleasing to the King of saints ; he 
bespeaks the soul at the sacrament, as Herod did the damsel, ' Ask 
of me what thou wilt, and I will give it thee, to the half, nay, to 
the whole of my kingdom.' The soul having before consulted with 
his regenerate part, (for this was a pious plot laid before, only put off 
till a convenient day,) asketh the head of some lust in a charger. The 
King sendeth presently, commandeth execution to be done accord- 
ingly. The new creature doth now with a joyful heart look up to 
heaven, and saitli. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath 
this day avenged me of mine enemy ; would to God that all the 
enemies of my Lord the King, and all that rise up within me 
against thy laws, were as that one lust ! 

He also withdraweth those things which have fed his spiritual 
diseases ; he takes away the fuel, that he may put out the fire ; he 
hates the very cup out of which he formerly drank his loathsome 
physic ; he cuts off those pipes which have supplied his adversaries ; 
he avoideth the occasions of evil; he knoweth that his corrupt 
heart is gunpowder ; and therefore, wheresoever he goeth, he is 
fearful of the least spark. ' He hatetli the garments spotted with 
the flesh,' Jude 23. He endeavoureth that his raiment may not 
only be preserved from burning, but, as the three children's, from 
singeing. He is a true dove, that doth not only fly from the hawk, 
from sin, but will not so much as smell of a feather which falleth 
from the hawk ; he abstaineth from appearances of evil ; he dares 
not come near the brow of the hill, so far is he from falling to the 
bottom. Thus the sanctified man useth all means for the murder- 
ing of his sins. 

Now, reader, consider, how is it with thee ? Hast thou applied 
these several particulars to thyself ? What sayest thou ? Is it thy 
endeavour by every providence, and thy end in every ordinance, to 
mortify thy corruptions, and to bring those traitors to execution ? 
Is it thy design to cover sin, or to kill sin ? Dost thou pray against sin, 
as Augustine confessed he did before his conversion, as one afraid 
that God should hear thee, and grant the request, not of thy heart, 
but of thy lips ? or is the death of thy sins the very desire of thy 
soul ? An unconverted man may put up many prayers, but no 
desires against sin. 

An unregenerate person fighteth against sin, as the Athenians 

Chap. VI.] by the key of kegenekation. 101 

against Philip of Macedon,! with words rather than with swords. 
Or as some that openly prosecute the law against a malefactor, and 
yet favour him underhand ; so this man makes a show of pursuing 
sin unto the death, accusing, arraigning it, witnessing against it 
in prayer, and desiring judgment ; but inwardly he so minceth the 
matter, taketh off the edge of the evidence against it, as one resolved 
that it shall live ; his expressions cry out of sin, as the Jews of 
Christ, Away with it, away with it, it is not worthy to live, let it 
be crucified ; but his affections call with much more ardency, as 
Pilate, Why should it die ? what evil hath it done ? we find no 
fault in it, or at least, as Augustine's heart, Not yet. Lord, not yet. A 
little longer he would willingly laze upon the bed of lust : a little 
more slumber, a little more sleep, saith this spiritual sluggard. 
Truly, all this show of warring against sin, is but false fire, which, 
you know, can do no execution. 

Fencers, at a prize, sometimes ply one another so home, and 
strike so hard, that they seem to be in earnest, when they are all 
the while but in jest ; their intentions are to please the people, and 
thereby to advance their profit, by getting a little money, but not 
at all to wound one another, at least not dangerously; a slight 
wound possibly may happen. Thus unsanctified men combat with 
sin ; they seem hj their praying, reading, hearing, to aim at its 
death, to be in earnest, when indeed their intentions are to carry 
on their own interest ; and their resolutions, that however they may 
raze sin slightly, for their own ends, not to wound it deeply. 
Friend, I know not, but God knoweth, whether it be thus with 
thee or no. Dost thou by civility, by the performance of duties, by 
attendance on ordinances, tell the world that thou wouldst crucify 
thy corruptions, when such a thing is not in thy retired thoughts ? 
as Caligula with banners displayed, battle ranged, trumpets sound- 
ing, set his soldiers to gather cockles. Or dost thou enter the Ust 
against thy lust, as David against Groliath, reckoning to kill, or be 
killed, resolving, through the help of heaven, the ruin of the uncir- 
cumcised Philistine ? 

Is the fight between thy judgment and thy will — between thine 
enlightened conscience and thy affections ? or between the spirit and 
flesh, the law in thy mind, and the law in thy members, the rege- 
nerate and the unregenerate part ? 

Dost thou hate and fight against sin as sin, and so against every 
sin ? for all true hatred is against the whole kind. 2 Dost thou loathe 

^ Livy, ' TTpbs TO, "yivT). — Arist. Rhet. 


it as much when it riseth in thy heart, as when it rageth in thy life? 
in thy dearest friends, as in thy bitterest enemies ? It was said of 
Anthony that he hated a tyrant, not tyranny ; dost thou abhor the 
disease or the patient ? canst thou say, as David, ' I hate every false 
way ' ? Ps. cxix. 104. Universality in this is a sure sign of sin- 
cerity. Herod spits out some sins, when he rolls others as sweet 
morsels in his mouth. A hypocrite ever leaves the devil some 
nest-egg to sit upon, though he take many away. Some men 
will not buy some commodities, because they cannot have them at 
their own price, but they lay out the same money on others ; so 
hypocrites forbear some sins, yea, are displeased at them, because 
they cannot have them without disgrace or diseases, or some other 
disadvantage ; but they lay out the same love upon other sins, which 
will suit better with their designs. Some affirm, what the sea loseth 
in one place, it gaineth in another ; so what ground the corruption 
of the unconverted loseth one way, it gaineth another. There is in 
him some one lust especially which is his favourite ; some king-sin, 
like Agag, which must be spared when others are destroyed. ' In 
this the Lord be merciful to thy servant,' saith Naaman. But now 
the regenerate laboureth to cleanse himself from all pollutions, both 
of flesh and spirit, 2 Cor. vii, 1. Grace is like Cassar, who would 
admit of no superior ; nay, like oil, it will allow of no mixture. 
Sin may be in the saint as rawness and illness in water, but the fire 
of grace worketh it out by degrees, sending it forth in the scum. 
The least drop of water is contrary to, and opposed by fire, as well 
as the full vessel ; so the least sin is contrary to, and opposed by 
grace as well as the greatest. The shepherd's dog forceth the whole 
flock to fly, but hath a special eye to one sheep, to which he is 
directed by the staff or a stone from the shepherd. Or as the 
hounds, saith a divine, drive the whole herd of deer before them, 
yet have a special eye to one deer which is singled out by the dart of 
the huntsman, that however others may escape, yet that shall be 
killed ; so regeneration, though it work in the soul a detestation of, 
and a resolution against, every sin, yet the severest exercise of this 
hatred and opposition is against the man's beloved and delightful 
sin, resolving, however others should escape, yet this shall be put 
to death. As the Syrian commanded his soldiers to fight neither 
against small nor great, but against the king of Israel, so truly 
the bent of the sanctified heart is most against this royal king-sin, 
as that sin whereby God hath been most dishonoured, and his soul 
most deeply wounded. 

Ambrose relates a story of a dog, whose master being slain by 

Chap. VI.] by the eley of regenekation. 103 

one of his enemies, he lay by him all night, with great lamentation, 
howling and barking. In the morning many came to see the dead 
corpse, amongst whom was the murderer ; the dog no sooner saw 
the homicide, but presently fell upon him.i Friend, is thy greatest 
hatred and anger against thy Saviour-and-soul-murderer, that 
master-sin in which thou didst formerly take the greatest pleasure ? 
Canst thou say, as David, (observe that character of uprightness,) 
* I was upright before him, and kept myself from mine iniquity ' ? 
Ps. xviii. 23. Mark, ' from mine iniquity.' The godless man, 
though he do much, will be sure to fail here ; and the godly man 
will strike home here, wherever he be favourable. A horse that is 
not sound, but foundered, will favour one foot, if not more ; the 
lapwing, some observe, will cry, and make a great noise, but it is 
when she is farthest from her nest ; the hypocrite may keep a great 
stir about many sins, but there is one sin which he meddleth not 
with. There is, saith a learned divine,^ no greater argument of un- 
sound repentance, than indulgent thoughts, and reserved delight 
and complacency in a master-sin. As some grounds are most pro- 
per soils to breed and nourish some particular weeds, so are some 
men's hearts for some particular sins : as Cain's for envy, Korah's 
for arrogancy, Pilate's for cowardliness, the young man's for cove- 
tousness ; and this sin is ordinarily the greatest block in the way 
of conversion ; rather than men would leave this sin, they have lost 
salvation, Mark x. 22 ; John xii. 42, 43. The devil holds them as 
fast by this one link as by ten thousand. As it is with a rabbit's 
skin, it comes off very well, till it come to the head, and then there 
is hauling and pulling, and much ado before it stirs. So the crea- 
ture may do much at the command of God, but there is old stir 
and pulling before this sin be separated from him ; if this be once 
done thoroughly, the man is converted truly, for nothing but a 
saving work, can cause a man to loathe that sin which he loved as 
himself ; and therefore an unconverted person will ever be false in 
this. Jehu may throw down the idolatry of Baal, but not the calves 
at Dan and Bethel. The young man in his worldliness, Herod in 
his uncleanness, Balaam in his stubbornness, must be excused. The 
converted soul is in this most careful ; as Cranmer, he will put 
that unworthy right hand first in the fire, with which by his 
subscription he had so much dishonoured Christ and religion. 
Mohammed the Great, first emperor of the Turks, cut off his fair 
Irene's head with his own hands, in whom he had so exceedingly 

^ In Hexam., lib. vi. cap. 4. 

- Dr Reynolds on Hosea xiv., Serm. 3. 


delighted, to assure his bashaws that he had rather promote the 
public peace and good, than please and satisfy his own passions. i 
The true Christian is a far greater conqueror, and, out of love to 
God and his own salvation, obtains a more lawful and noble victory- 
over the mistress of his affections. He knoweth no sin, be it never 
so near or dear to him, worth hazarding the loss of God's favour 
and his eternal welfare for. And therefore though his sin be an 
Absalom, concerning which corrupt nature, like David, gives a 
special charge. Spare the young man Absalom : deal gently with 
him for my sake ; he seeth, like Joab, that the way to scatter the 
army of lusts is to slay the general, this commander-in-chief And 
therefore he resolveth to make sure work of him, and for that end 
takes three darts and strikes him through with them all, when one 
would have done the deed. 

Eeader, I confess I have been much larger in this head than I 
intended ; but if thou examine thine heart faithfully and prudently 
by it, thou wilt have no cause to be sorry for it. I have read that 
it was wont to be the way of trial, whether land belonged to Eng- 
land or Ireland, by putting toads or serpents, or other venomous 
creatures, into it. If they lived there, the land belonged to Eng- 
land ; if they died, to Ireland. Sure I am thou mayest try whether 
thou at present belongest to heaven or to hell, to a covenant of 
works, or to the covenant of grace, whether thou art converted or 
unconverted ; if venomous lusts do live in thee, thou art English 
land, in a state of nature and wrath ; if they die daily in thee, thou 
art in Christ, and belongest to the land of paradise. Yet I would 
not be understood as if I meant that godly men are never over- 
taken with sin, or that corruption never gets the better of them. 
For I know that the purest on earth are holy but in part ; they are 
like watermen rowing hard against the stream of corruption, but, 
through a sudden and violent blast of temptation, they may be 
driven backward. But observe, this is violent, against their fixed 
and deliberate resolutions ; their obedience to the law of sin is 
forced as to a usurper, not free as to a liege lord. Ahab indeed 
sold himself to sin, 1 Kings xxi. 20, but Paul was sold under sin, 
Rom. vii. 14. The former was a volunteer and agent, the latter a 
pressed man, a mere patient. Augustine setteth out the difference 
between sin in the regenerate and unregenerate by a comparison 
of Tarquin and Lucretia,2 where, speaking of her ravishment, there 
were, saith he, two bodies, but one guilty of adultery, and concludeth 

' Turkish History. 

2 Peccatum factum est de ilia, non ab ilia.— iu^r. de Civit. Dei 

Chap. VI.] by the key of regenerations'. lUo 

the sin was committed upon her, not by her. Consonant to which 
is that of the apostle, ' For that which I do, I allow not ; for what 
I would, that I do not ; but what I hate, that I do : now if I do 
what I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth 
in me,' Eom. vii. 15, 20. The converted person, like the betrothed 
virgin, is forced ; he crieth out, and therefore in God's account is 
innocent. Our committing sin will not speak us unsanctified, but 
our submitting to it will. 

Secondly, There is in this new creature, as a dying to sin, so also 
a living to God in all ways of obedience, Eom. vi. 11. As the 
old man is put off, so the new man is put on ; besides the expul- 
sion of sin, there is the infusion of holiness. A habit or principle of 
grace is bestowed on the soul, whereby it breatheth after, exerciseth 
and delighteth itself in, the ways and worship of God ; there is an 
inward frame and disposition infused into the new creature, differ- 
ent from, nay, contrary to, his former inclinations : the stream of 
his heart and life before ran swiftly after the flesh and the world ; 
the creature sat upon the throne in his inward man, commanding 
all things at pleasure ; earth was the man's heaven ; the world lay 
in his heart, and all the man's affections and actions were ordered 
and disposed for the advancement of that interest. But now the 
tide is turned, the waters run in another channel ; the Lord is ex- 
alted in his affections, as his chiefest good, and in his conversation 
as his utmost end ; the law of God is written in the heart, and 
commented upon in the life ; the inward man is of a good consti- 
tution, and the outward man of a good complexion. Grace is a ten- 
dency of the soul God- ward ; his understanding knoweth God to 
be the greatest good, John xvii. His will chooseth him, his affec- 
tions love him, his desire is after him, his delight is in him, his fear 
is of him, his trust is on him, his care and endeavour is to walk 
worthy of the Lord unto all well-pleasing, John xvii. 3 ; Ps. xvi. 5, 
6, and Ixxiii. 25, 26 ; Isa. vii. 8 ; Ps. xxxvii. 4 ; Gen. xlii. 18 ; 
like the sun-flower, he followeth the motion of the Sun of righteous- 

Now reader, try thyself; art thou alive to God? Dost thou 
take him in Christ for thy happiness, and make him thine end ? Is 
it thy business and trade to do his will, thy calling and employment 
to finish his work ? Is thy heart devoted to his fear, and thy life 
to his honour ? How art thou affected to his word and worship ? 
Dost thou perform duties out of love to God, with complacency in 
God ? Is it thy meat and drink to obey his precepts ? How is 
thy soul ravished with the sweetnesses of his promises ? Art thou 


joyful in the house of prayer ? Is the Sabbath thy delight ? Is 
the Scripture sweeter to thee than the honey and honeycomb ? At 
the sacrament, canst thou sit under Christ's shadow with great 
delight, and find his fruit sweet unto thy taste ? Dost thou esteem 
the yoke of thy Saviour easy, his service liberty, his ways, ' ways of 
pleasantness, and all his paths peace ' ? Canst thou say, ' One day 
in God's courts is better than a thousand elsewhere ' ? Hast thou 
found that it is good for thee to draw nigh to God ? If thou 
wert put to thy choice, hadst thou rather solace thy soul with sen- 
sual recreations, or in communion with the Father, and Jesus 
Christ his Son ? Examine thine heart ; for if thou hast the divine 
nature, divine and spiritual things will be natural, and so pleasant 
to thee. A man whose nature is covetous, how exceedingly doth he 
delight in viewing and feeling money ! as the Roman emperor 
would put off his clothes and tumble up and down in heaps of sil- 
ver. If a man's nature be proud, how exceedingly pleased is he in 
the cap and the knee, in being flattered and respected ! it is meat 
and drink to him, as we say, to be reverenced in men's carriage, 
and honoured in their language ; men love those things alife, be- 
cause they suit with their natures : so when a man hath a new 
nature, a spiritual holy nature, things which are spiritual and holy 
will be acceptable to him, because they are suitable to his nature ; 
the word will be welcome, prayer will be pleasant, ordinances will 
be as savoury as food to the hungry ; the man will love ' the habi- 
tation of God's house, and the place where God's honour dwelleth '; 
though his flesh be weak, his spirit is always willing. He may be 
weary at a duty, that the wheels of his soul should be clogged 
with the dirt of infidelity, and make him drive so heavily, but he 
is never weary of duties ; though corruption and Satan now dog 
him at, and disturb him in, his performances, yet it is the comfort 
of his soul that he now drags them in chains after the triumphant 
chariot of grace ; and he rejoiceth to think how he shall leave the 
body of death behind him, at the entrance of his soul into the Capi- 
tol of glory. His heart leaps now, when his feet do but creep in the 
way of obedience ; when he goeth to the house of God, it is with 
the voice of joy, unto the altar of God, yea, his God and exceeding 

Whatsoever a man doth from an ingrafted propensity, he doth it 

not only in sincerity, but also with alacrity ; he delights in it as 
the fish in the water, as the mole in the earth, it is his proper ele- 
ment ; God and the things of God are his element ; he would still 
be and live in this element. He delights to know God, to worship 

Chap. VI.] by the key of regeneration. 107 

him, to believe in him, to meditate on him, to sanctify his day, to 
glorify his name, to observe his laws, to view his children ; he is 
never so well as when he is walking with God. If there were no 
heaven to prefer the obedient, and no hell to punish the disobedient, 
yet he would fear the Lord, and delight greatly in his command- 

But on the other side, speak, friend, art thou listless and dead 
to spiritual things ? are they irksome and tedious to thee ? Pro- 
bably the commandments of God are bonds and cords ; the Sabbath 
thy toilsome day, not a day of rest and refreshment ; the sanctuary 
is thy prison, the service of God is snuffed at by thee, and weari- 
some to thee ; thou art glad that the duty is done, the day is over, 
thy conscience quieted, like a tenant who is glad his rent is paid to 
his landlord, but took no pleasure in parting witli his money ; thou 
rejoicest at the end, not at the beginning of thy duty ; thou count- 
est Ame7i the best word in a prayer, not because it is the fruit of 
thy faith, but because it puts a period to thy petitions ; the blessing 
is the best part of divine worship ; thou esteemest no part to be 
before it, because that is last, and nothing comes after. 

Religion is but possibly thy by-business, and a lackey to thy 
lusts, a pass and a convoy which thou hast need of in thy travelling 
through the world. It may be thou goest to duty as a bear to the 
stake ; it goeth against the hair with thee to walk in the way of 
holiness, though necessity compel thee, sometimes, or once or twice 
a day, to take a turn in the path of piety : conscience will roar un- 
less it may find rest in some outward performance. 

Or thou mayest now and then perceive good company walking 
in the narrow way which leadeth to life ; and so, as travellers care 
not if they go a mile or two out of their way for company, especi- 
ally if the way be fair, and the company pleasing ; so thou mayest 
go out of thy own way sometimes, and walk a little with the saints 
for company. 

Reader, be faithful to thy soul. A real fire differeth from a 
i:)ainted one by its heat ; and so doth the real from the painted 
Christian by his heat, life, and delight in the service of God. If 
thou art alive to God, thou art given up to all the laws of God; 
thou exercisest thyself therein to keep a conscience void of offence 
towards God and men. If thou art a Christian indeed, the image 
of God is imprinted on thee ; now this image consisteth in know- 
ledge, righteousness, and true holiness. Righteousness conforms thy 
heart to the whole second table of the moral law ; holiness conforms 
it to the whole first table, and knowledge completes this conformity 


to both. The regenerate man is not maimed ; no part of the new- 
man is wanting : he cuts not off the garments of holiness in the 
midst. Agrippa may be half a Christian, Herod may do many 
things, but Zacharias and Elisabeth walk in all the statutes and 
ordinances of the Lord blameless ; and David will fulfil all the 
w^ill of God, Luke i. 6 ; Acts xiii. Perfect holiness is the reward 
of the saints in heaven, but it is the desire and endeavour of the 
saints on earth : ' Oh that my ways were directed to keep thy com- 
mandments ' ! As a resolved traveller that is upon a journey of ne- 
cessity, whether the way and weather be fair or foul, he goeth on, 
by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report, until he 
appear before God in Zion. He lifteth at the latch when he can- 
not open the door ; he hath respect to all God's commandments. 
He obeyeth every law of both tables in his will, though he break 
the law of both tables in his works. As the hearts and wills of the 
Athenians were witli Sylla without the walls, when they were be- 
sieged by him, and kept in their bodies within by force, so the 
saints are with the whole law in their hearts and intentions, even 
then wdien they are forced to fail, in regard of their hands and exe- 
cution, Eom. vii, 13, 14. Paul's three adverbs speak a substan- 
tial Christian, Tit. ii. 11. 

Some are first-table men, zealous for religion and duties towards 
God, but cold and careless in point of righteousness and justice in 
their dealings with men ; others are second- table men, very just 
and righteous towards men, yet mind not religion towards God. 
But the true Christian is complete in all the will of God, Phil, 
iv. 12. Integrality is the true note of integrity. The philosopher 
saith that deceit lieth in universals l ; the divine saith that sincerity 
lieth in universals. ' We trust,' saith Paul, ' that we have a good 
conscience, because we desire in all things to live honestly,' Heb. 
xiii. 18. 

A hypocrite is like some books, of little worth, because they are 
imperfect — something is wanting. Those commands which will 
suit with his ends shall be taken in his way, as Jehu did the pre- 
cepts which enjoined the rooting out of Ahab's family ; but those 
wdiich cross his designs must be cast by, as that precept to Jehu of 
rooting out the idolatry of Dan and Bethel, Thus this unconverted 
person indents with God, as some servants wath their masters. 
This work he will do, and this work he will not do ; and thus, 
while he breaks one command resolutely, he breaks all reductively. 
The commands of the law are all copulative ; they hang together 

' Dolus latet in univerealibus. 

Chap. VI.] by the key of regeneration. 109 

like a carcanet of jewels — break one off, and all fall with it ; or 
as one article of a lease being broken, the whole lease is forfeited. 
He that breaks one with resolution and confidence, obeyeth none 
out of conscience. He that disobeyeth God wilfully in one com- 
mand, shall find that he disobeyeth God wholly in all. ' He that 
keepeth the whole law, and oifendeth in one jDoint, is guilty of all,' 
James ii. 

Header, if thou shouldst sit at table, and see a man piddling at 
his meat, picking and choosing — this he liked, that he disliked — 
thou wouldst conclude, surely some ill-humours are predominant 
in him, his body is unsound. So, when thou art piddling at the 
table of the word, picking and choosing among the commands of 
of God — this thou likest, it is easy ; that thou dislikest, it will cost 
thee some pains, or tend to thy discredit — mayest thou not gather 
that corruption is too much prevailing in thee, and thy soul is un- 
sound ? Be it known unto thee that thou art a traitor against the 
King of heaven, if thou clippest or refusest any piece which hath 
his impression and superscription. 

Secondly, Examine thyself by the effects of regeneration. I shall 
name three effects of it, by which I would request thee to search 
and try thy soul. 

First, The new-born child desireth and savoureth the means of 
grace. The unconverted man, being dead spiritually, hath no ap- 
petite to, nor taste of, spiritual food ; but the living child hath 
both : ' As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word,' 1 
Pet. ii. 2. The babe of grace, as soon as born, doth cry for the 
breast. He can no more hve in his soul without duties, than in his 
body without diet. The infant-heir preferreth his milk before his 
largest manors. A famine of the word pincheth and paineth him 
more than a famine of bread and water. David's banishment from 
the temple was his sorest trouble, and a far greater affliction to him 
than his forced absence from his dearest relations. 

Oh the hunger of this gracious soul after Scripture ! ' I opened 
my mouth and panted, for I longed for thy commandments,' - Ps. 
cxix. 131. The big-bellied mother doth not long more than this new- 
born child. The poor prisoner doth not beg more heartily for bread, 
than he for spiritual food, Ps. xlii. 1, 2, and Ixiii. 1, 2. A divine 
observeth^ excellently on that fore-quoted place, 1 Pet. ii. 2, a three- 
fold difference between the bad and good in their desires of the word. 

1. The regenerate desires the word as the babe doth milk. How 
is that ? He desires it as his livelihood when he is new-born, 

^ Dr Harris on New Heart. 


though afterward he is more playful, and every noise may call him 
off from the breast ; but when new-born, nothing can satisfy but the 
breast. So a hypocrite may desire the word when there is nothing 
to call him ; but when the world and the word come in competition, 
he will follow his earthly, whatever become of his heavenly, business ; 
but a new-born child prefers it before thousands of gold or silver. 

2. The new-born child desires the word in its plainness — the 
sincere milk of the word, without mixture, as the child desires the 
mother's milk without sugar ; whereas another desires the word in 
its gaudy dress, lofty language — partly out of pride, scorning the 
simplicity of the gospel ; partly out of cowardice, because the 
naked sword of the word, drawn out of its gaudy scabbard, pierceth 

3. The new-born creature desires the word for a good end, that 
he may grow thereby in grace and holiness ; another man may 
desire it that he may grow in ability to discourse, or the like ; but 
this man that he may grow in faith, love, and sanctifying graces. 
Besides, hunger being his sauce, makes the word sweet to him : 
' He esteemeth the word of God's mouth more than his appointed 
food,' Job xxiii. 12. Mark, not than varieties, or superfluous fare, 
but than daily and necessary food. The former might be spared, 
but this, for the preservation of life, is necessarily required ; but 
God's word was before this. Spiritual dainties are most delightful 
to them that have special grace. And, truly, it is no wonder that 
the child doth so exceedingly long for, and love that which is, as it 
were, his father : ' I will never forget thy precepts, for by them 
thou hast quickened me,' Ps. cxix. 93. Some men say they shall 
never forget such a friend the longest day that they have to live. 
What is the reason ? They will tell us they were nigh death, either 
by fire, or water, or some disease, and, under God, such men saved 
their lives. So saith David, ' I will never forget God's law the 
longest day I shall live.' Why ? What is the matter ? Alas ! I was 
nigh death, next door to eternal damnation ; there was but a thin 
paper wall of life between me and everlasting woe, and, under God, 
the word helped me — it saved my soul ; I will never forget thy pre- 
cepts, for with them thou hast quickened me. If Alexander could 
say that he was more bound to his tutor Aristotle than to his father 
Philip, because he had only his being from the latter, when he had 
his well-being from the former, and therefore he prized him so 
much ; how much, therefore, doth the true Christian value that 
word, which is instrumental to his being in Christ here, and his 
everlasting well-being with Christ hereafter ? 

Chap. VI. ] by the key of regeneration. Ill 

So for prayer, the regenerate person cannot live without it, and 
fellowship with Grod in it. He is like a full vessel — his heart filled 
with complaint against sin, with longing after Christ and his like- 
ness. If you will not give it vent, it will burst. Prayer is his 
breathing Godward. Without breathing the body could not live — 
it would be inflamed and burnt up with the heat of its own en- 
trails ; no more could the soul, unless the saint should breathe 
often towards heaven, crying, Abba, Father. Spiritual breath was 
the first sign of Paul's spiritual birth : ' Behold, he prayeth/ Acts 
ix. 11. 

So I might speak of other ordinances of God, for there is a con- 
stant trade driven between the convert and heaven, which is carried 
on by several commodities, and if this commerce were broken off 
he could not subsist. He findeth the means of grace as needful to 
keep grace and soul together, as meat to keep life and soul togetlier. 
His heart, though fired with this spiritual life, is like green wood, 
which will burn no lons-er than it is blown with the bellows of ordi- 

Eeader, how dost thou find thine appetite unto the bread and 
water of life ? Dost thou hunger after the word, prayer, sacra- 
ments, communion of saints, and the Lord's day? Canst thou 
feed on them with delight ? Dost thou rise from table with an 
appetite, longing to sit down again ? Canst thou say, as the 
psalmist, 'I watch, and am as the sparrow upon the housetop'? 
Ps. cii. 7. Observe, the sparrow upon the top of a house looketh 
on this side and that side of the house, it looketh this way and 
that way, and round about, if he can spy any corn and food ; and 
when it can see any, it flieth to that place and pecks it up. So 
dost thou watch for, and resort to the ordinances of God, which 
are the food of thy soul ? AVhat sayest thou ? It may be thou 
art for high language, oratorical expressions, such sermons only are 
pleasing to thee. The dish must be set out with many flowers, on 
which thou lookest more than at the meat. Believe it, as there is 
no greater sign of a foul stomach than to loathe solid meat, and to 
pick salads or feed on ashes ; so there is hardly a greater sign of an 
unsanctified heart, than to loathe the solid food of the word, and to 
pick the flowers of man's wisdom in a sermon, or to feed on the 

Or possibly thou art one of the newfangled opinionists of our un- 
happy times, that are above ordinances. I must tell thee that to 
live above ordinances is to live below a saint. He that doth not 
reckon the means of grace his greatest privilege on this side the 


place of glory, may well question whetlier ever he enjoyed God in 
them. Methinks the beggar should know that door again at which 
he had a large alms, a full bait, James i. 18, 19 ; 1 Pet. ii. 2-4. 
A child, indeed, may forbear his meat, either in a fit of sullenness, 
or under some disease ; but if he be a child, his dogged fit will be 
over, he will get the mastery of his distemper, and fall to his food 


Containing more marks of a regenerate person. 

Secondly, The new-born creature groweth in grace ; the picture 
of a child groweth not, but a living child doth. After generation 
followeth augmentation ; the same word which breeds the new 
man, feeds him, and enables him to grow thereby, 1 Pet. ii. 2. 
As the same blood, of which the babe is bred in the womb, strikes 
up into the mother's breasts, and by a further concoction becometh 
milk, and so nourisheth it : the good seed of the word falling into 
the soil of an honest heart makes it abundant in the work of the 
Lord. Common grace sometimes, like Joshua's sun, standeth 
still ; but usually, like the dial of Ahaz, it goeth ten degrees 
backward ; when special grace, like the morning light, shineth 
brighter and brighter to perfect day, Prov. iv. 18. First the 
blade, next the ear, then the full corn : first they who are be- 
gotten of God become little children, next young men, then old 
men and fathers, 1 John ii. 1, 12-14. 

The unsound Christian is like the manna for the Israelites' daily 
use, which did corrupt and putrify ; or like a pond of water which 
quickly drieth up ; when true Christianity, as the manna in the 
ark, doth keep sweet, and, as the waters of the sanctuary, is up 
first to the ankles, then to the knees, then to the loins, and 
at last became a river so deep that none could pass over it, 
Ezek. xlvii. 3-5. 

If grace be true, there is a natural tendency in it to growth, as 
there is in seed cast into the earth. There is virtually in a little 
plant the bigness and height of a great tree, towards which it is 
putting forth itself with more and more strength every day. So 
there is in that seed of grace, planted in the soul at conversion, 
virtually that perfection of grace which Christ hath ajjpointed that 
man unto, towards which it is putting itself forth every day : ' He 

Chap. VII.] by the key of regenekation. 113 

that hath clean hands, groweth stronger and stronger/ Job xvii. 9. 
' They go from strength to strength till they appear before Grod in 
Zion,' Ps. Ixxxiv. This river of living waters runneth along, 
notwithstanding many turnings and windings, till it empty itself 
into the ocean, and grace commence glory. 

The grain of mustard seed groweth into a tree, and the 
smoking flax is blown into a flame. The least spark of true 
holiness cannot be put out by all the blast of men and devils ; 
but will, like the coal-fire, wax the hotter for the waters of opposi- 
tion, and never leave aspiring till it be joined, and become a pure 
and perfect flame. 

He was never good man that mends not, saith that holy 
bishop ;^ for if he were good he must needs desire to be better. 
Grace is so sweet, that whoever tastes of it must needs long after 
more ; and if he desire it, he will endeavour it ; and if he do but 
endeavour, God will crown with success. God's family admitteth 
of no dwarfs which are unthriving and stand at a stay, but men of 
measures. Whatever become of my body or my estate, I will ever 
labour to find somewhat added to the stature of my soul. 

The children of God are therefore compared to trees which are 
thriving and profitable : as to the fruitful vine, the fat olive, the 
seasonable sapling planted by the rivers of waters, for he abideth 
in Christ ; and whosoever abideth in him bringeth forth fruit, 
John XV. 4. The branch which seemeth to belong to the vine, 
by hanging on it, yet is dead, will wither and perish ; but that 
which is alive in the vine will partake of its sap, and thereby 
thrive and flourish. 

Indeed all Christ's scholars are not of the same form. All 
gracious men are not of the same growth. As in the natural body 
some parts have more beauty and strength than others, so in the 
mystical body of Christ, one member may be more eminent in 
spiritual strength than another. God doth not give grace as he 
did manna, by the homer ; one star differeth from another in 
glory ; but though all the children of God are not of the same 
strength and stature, yet they are all thriving children ; and, as 
some write of the crocodile, they grow while they live. As all 
pieces of land are not alike fruitful, some bring forth thirty, some 
sixty, some an hundred-fold ; but all the good grounds are 
fruitful, and return the seed with advantage ; every one bringeth 
forth some fruit. 

It is confessed, also, that a true Christian doth not grow at all 

^ Hoi., Medit. and Vows, p. 7, medit. ii. 
VOL. V. H 


times alike. A violent wind may force those waves for some time 
backward, whose natural motion is forward. Nature's retraction of 
itself from a visible fear, upon a sensible danger, may make the 
pulse of a Christian, that beats truly and strongly in the main 
point, the state of the soul, to intermit and faulter at such a time. 
Peter was far from thriving when he denied his Master, first 
with bare words, and then with curses and oaths ; and so was David 
from growing, when he first commits adultery in person, and after- 
wards murder by a proxy. But mark, as children under a fit of 
sickness grow not at present, but after their recovery shoot up the 
more for it ; and as trees stand at a stay in winter, but in spring 
shoot forth to purpose ; so the child of God, though he may have 
his declensions, yet afterwards he recovers himself, and his dis- 
temper being removed, he falls to his food, and gets strength 
apace ; nay, the greater his fall was, the greater his rise ; the 
lower the ebb and decrease, the higher the tide and increase ; as 
we see in Peter, who though he denied Christ out of cowardice, 
came afterwards to own him with courage, and that to the loss, 
not only of his liberty, but his very life.i And David, who could 
once imbrue his hands in another man's blood, would not after- 
wards drink of that water, the fetching of which had but endan- 
gered blood. 

, Eeader, how dost thou find thine heart to thrive in holiness ? 
Dost thou, like a dead stake in a hedge, grow, but it is every day 
more rotten ? or dost thou, like a living tree, grow bigger and better, 
extending in the branches, and increasing in fruit, from the sap 
which thou derivest from Christ thy root ? Art thou like those 
seducers which Paul speaks of, that grow worse and worse, like 
a carcase, more unsavoury every hour than other ? or dost thou, 
like the moon, always increase in the light of purity, till thou 
come to the full of glory ? Art thou ever pressing forward towards 
the prize of the high calling of God in Christ ? or dost thou slide 
backward with a perpetual backsliding ? Art thou one of them 
that boast they are still the same, as loose, as deboist as ever — no 
changeling, unless it be from one lewd company, or loose course, to 
another ? like the cameleon, thou canst turn into any colour but 
white ; into anything but what thou shouldst be. Truly, thou art 
far from the kingdom of heaven. 

Friend, let conscience speak. Was the time with thee when thou 
couldst not suffer half a day to pass without duties, nor a duty 
without communion with God in it ? thou didst constantly either 

^ Euseb. 

Chap. VII.] by the key of kegeneration. 115 

meet God, or miss God, in an ordinance ; thou couldst not hear an 
oath, but thou wast sensible of God's dishonour ; nor speak an idle 
word, but thou wast ^fearful of divine displeasure ? God and thy 
soul, like two intimate friends, did walk together ? And is it now 
otherwise ? canst thou neglect prayer and the word, and never be 
troubled at their want ? or, if thou mind any performance, art thou 
indifferent whether or no God affords his presence ? canst thou hear 
others lash out with their lips, and give thyself liberty for vain and 
frothy language, yet none of these things move thee ? friend, 
consider whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do thy first 
works ; for surely it is sad to see the days grow shorter and shorter, 
to see a body wasting away every day more and more of a con- 
sumption. And how sad is it to see a soul declining in regard of 
spiritual strength ! If thou fall forward, thou mayest help thyself ; 
but if thou fall backward, as old Eli did, thou mayest undo thy- 
self ; thy fall may prove thy downfall. Eemember that a vessel 
of true gold will wear brighter and brighter to the last, when a 
cup which is only gilt will grow paler and paler till all the gilt be 
off. Take heed thou be not like an apple, fair on the outside, and 
rotten at core ; for then thou wilt corrupt further and further, till 
thy outside be like thine inside, and God discover thee to be un- 
sound all over. 

Thirdly, The new-born creature endeavoureth to make others 
gracious. All living creatures have a tendency and inclination to 
beget others, and propagate their own kind. Adam, when pol- 
luted, begets a son after his image ; truly, so doth the Christian, 
in his desires and endeavours, as soon as he is purified. No sancti- 
fied soul did ever make a monopoly of his Saviour ; like the wall, 
he receiveth warmth from the Sun of righteousness, and reflecteth 
it on them that are near him. 

A hypocrite, which hath no true grace himself, careth not how 
little others have. He is like a dead coal, whatever be nigh him 
is never warmed or quickened by him ; but the sincere soul wisheth 
that all were altogether as he is, and, as a live coal, he kindleth 

All good is diffusive of itself, and the more of goodness in any, 

the more of diffusiveness. If Peter be converted, he will strengthen 

his brethren ; if David be reduced, he will teach sinners God's ways. 

None are more desirous of children than they who have God for 

their father. 

The true Christian, that hath tasted God to be gracious, and 

found good entertainment at his table, cannot but commend his 


house-keeping to others, and advise them to accept of the same 

As the sun refresheth many with his warm rays, especially them 
that are near it, so doth the saint benefit many by his fervent 
prayers for them, occasional counsels and constant pattern to them, 
but especially those that are of his own family. There indeed are 
his most cherishing beams, and enlivening influences. Oh how 
dihgent is he that the King of saints may have his throne in 
every heart within his house ! Like the bee, he goeth to the flower 
of this duty, and to the flower of that ordinance, sucking some 
honey, some soul-sweetness, and then carrieth all home to his hive, 
to his family. He will study and strive that his cottage may be- 
come a church, his house God's lesser heaven. It is a mercy to be 
his wife, he will labour that Christ may be her husband ; it is a 
happiness to be his children, he will endeavour that God may be 
their father ; it is a privilege to be his servant, he will do his 
utmost that such may be heirs of salvation. His house is a 
healthful air for the souls of others to breathe in. 

Grace, like fire, cannot be hid ; you may as soon conceal musk 
in your hand as grace in your heart. The turning of a sinner from 
evil to good, is like the turning of a bell from one side to another, 
which reporteth its own motion. The convert is resolved, as 
Elijah, to shew himself ; and in this among the rest, in bringing more 
customers to that shop where he had such cheap and kind usage. 

The devil was no sooner fallen but he laboured to draw man to 
the same wickedness and wretchedness with himself ; the dead in 
sin are no sooner raised to spiritual life but they endeavour to draw 
others to the same holiness and happiness with themselves. ' These 
things I write unto you, that ye may have fellowship with us ; and 
truly our fellowship,' which is the only good fellowship, ' is with 
the Father, and Jesus Christ the Son,' 1 John i. 3. 

The child of God eateth not his morsel alone, but loveth com- 
pany ; he is very covetous to make proselytes unto Christ. We 
have a saying, that he was unworthy to be born, by whom another 
is not born. Sure I am, he may question whether he were ever 
born again, that doth not labour that others may be so also. 

Eeader, try thyself by this touchstone ; art thou a heavenly 
merchant to engross spiritual commodities to thyself ? or art thou 
desirous that others should share with thee ? Is the voice of thy 
heart like Cain's ? ' Am I my brother's keeper ? ' or like Moses', 
' Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that 
the Lord would put his Spirit upon them. ' Canst thou stand by 

Chap. VII.] by the key of kegeneeation. 117 

and see others lose their Grod, and Christ, and souls for ever, and 
not to be at all troubled, so thy stakes are saved ? or dost thou, 
with Darius, labour hard to keep poor creatures from the roaring 
lion ? Dan. vi. 14 ; and with Abraham pray heartily that poor 
Sodomites may be preserved from fire and brimstone ? Is it all 
one to thee whether thy neighbours and relations sink or swim, be 
sinners or saints, be saved or damned ? truly then it is a sign thou 
art not born of God ; for wert thou his son, thou wouldst endea- 
vour, by thy prayers, pattern, and precepts, to raise up seed to thine 
elder brother Jesus Christ. 

Keader, it is far from my thoughts to disown or discourage the 
least degree of grace. ^ I know that the embryo in the womb is 
reckoned towards a child ; the break of day a part of the day. 
A palsy-shaking hand is a true hand, and may receive a jewel as 
surely, though not so steadily, as another hand ; a weak hand of 
faith is a true faith, and may receive the pearl of price as certain, 
though not so cheerfully, as a strong faith. If thy desires after these 
particulars be sincere, and accompanied with suitable endeavours, 
it will speak much for thee. I am not bringing thy graces to the 
balance to weigh them, that I may know their quantity and degrees, 
and how rich thou art ; but to the touchstone, to try them, that 
thou mightst know their quality and truth, whether thou art poor 
in spirituals or poor in spirit ; whether thou art worth anything or 
nothing, for thine endless estate in the other world. 

To sum up this use, I would request thee to be so great a friend 
to thy precious soul, as to be impartial and faithful in its search 
and trial. Look much at the constant bent and inclination of thy 
heart. One act will not speak a habit, nor a few good or bad 
motions a holy or evil heart. Thou mayest have same cogitations 
of heaven, when thy conversation is not in heaven. The air is 
light, yet not a lightsome body, because it is lighted by the pres- 
ence of another ; when that is removed, it is dark, as in the night. 
So, if thy light of holiness in any of the forementioned particulars 
be only like a flash of lightning, for a fit, it is a sign the root 
of the matter is not in thee. On the other side, thou mayest be 
in the right way to heaven, though thou art sometimes stopped 
and hindered in thy journey. A stream or vent of a river may be 
to go downward, yet the river may be dammed up for a while, but 
it will rise higher and higher, and at length beat down and over- 
come that which hindereth it ; so if the tendency of thine inward 
man, its ordinary frame and temper, be but towards God and the 

^ Credo, Domine, vera fide, etsi languida fide. — (Ecolampad. 


divine nature, be not discouraged, thougli there may be the mud 
of corruption to stop the stream ; for this living water of grace will 
be so beating upon it, that it will overpower it, and ride trium- 
phantly over it. But be sure that thou bring the matter in debate 
to an issue ; by no means desist till thou bringest it to some result. 
If Satan can but persuade thee either to daub about it, (for his 
speech will be like that of Peter to Christ, ' Master, pity thyself,') 
or to leave the question still in doubt, he knoweth that he shall 
spoil the working of all this physic, be it never so good. I know 
that thine heart will be as hard to be kept to it as an eel in thine 
hands ; therefore serve thine heart, as the judge serveth the jurors 
at an assize. First they are sworn to be true and faithful in 
deciding and determining the difference between party and party ; 
next they hear the evidence and proofs on both sides ; after that 
they are shut up together, and have neither fire, nor candle, nor 
bread, nor drink allowed them, till they are agreed on their verdict, 
which when they have done, they bring it into the court, and there 
it is entered and recorded. ' Go thou and do likewise.' When thou 
art got into thy chamber, first make thine heart to engage and 
promise, before the Judge of the whole earth, that it will, through 
the strength of Christ, be true and faithful in determining this 
weighty controversy between God and thy soul, whether the land 
of promise belong to thee or not ; next let conscience be called, 
which is as ten thousand witnesses, and speak what it knoweth of 
thy right and title to that estate, according to the known laws of 
the Lord ; and if thou lovest the life of thy soul, do not wink upon 
that witness, or fee him underhand, to make him mince the matter, 
and be partial in his testimony. Foolish pity here is soul-damning 
cruelty ; but tell him he is upon his oath, and in the presence of 
the infinite God, and charge him to speak the truth, the whole 
truth, and nothing but the truth. Oh do but give conscience leave 
to be faithful at this time, and it will be thy friend to eternity. 
When the evidence is thus examined, let nothing hinder a verdict ; 
call upon thy heart again and again, whether it be resolved for 
thee or against thee ; till this be done, give thyself no rest ; if one 
day will not serve, take two ; never give over till it come to an 
issue one way or other. Of what infinite concernment is this to 
thee, when all that thou art worth for the other world dependeth 
on it ! When thou art agreed of a verdict, let it be entered and 
engrossed in the court of conscience — namely, that such a day thy 
title to the inheritance of the saints in light was tried before the 
judge of quick and dead ; and upon a full hearing of evidence on 

Chap. VII.] by the key of regeneration. 119 

both sides, such or such a verdict was brought in. If thy heart 
find for thee, how may this fill thee with joy, that thy name is 
written in the book of life ! it may keep thee steady in greatest 
storms, that thou art an undoubted heir to the eternal weight of 
glory. When the waters of affliction overtake thee, and the devil 
throws his stones into them to trouble them and make them muddy, 
that thou mayest doubt and distrust thine eternal felicity, how 
quickly may the remembrance of such a verdict upon full evidence 
settle them again ! and how clearly mayest thou see thy sincerity, 
like a true diamond, sparkling gloriously at the bottom of those 
waters ! thou mightst gather, Once in Christ, and ever in Christ ; 
and I was once in him, therefore I can never be out of him. 
friend, thy privileges are high and unspeakable, and therefore thj'' 
practices should be holy and answerable. But I cannot stay to 
speak further to thee here ; my work groweth in my hands already 
much beyond my thoughts ; yet I shall speak to thy dignity and 
happiness in the second subject of consideration, under the first use 
of exhortation ; and to thy duty and holiness in the second use of 
exhortation, if the book swell not too big. 

But, reader, if thine heart find against thee, that thou art not 
born again, what canst thou say for thyself why sentence of eternal 
death should not be awarded and executed upon thee according to 
law, yea, according to the gospel ? Hast thou read the reasons of 
the doctrine, and the first use of information, and dost thou not 
see the absolute, indispensable necessity of regeneration in all that 
would be saved ? Hath not the God of truth, as it were, confirmed 
it with an oath, ' Verily, verily, I say unto thee, that except a man 
be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God ' ? Canst thou 
think to make the author of this text a liar, by getting to heaven 
in an unregenerate condition ? Dost thou believe that the thoughts 
of his heart stand for ever, and the counsels of his majesty be 
established to all generations? Suppose thou shouldst die this 
day, (alas! how many diseases attend thee ! the feet of those 
that carried others to their long homes are ready to carry thee also,) 
good Lord, what will become of thee for ever, ever, ever ? Art 
thou able to dwell in everlasting burnings ? canst thou endure un- 
quenchable flames ? For the sake of thy precious soul, hasten out 
of this Sodom, this natural estate, which will undoubtedly be 
punished with fire and brimstone. For thine help herein I have 
written the next use, which I earnestly beseech thee, as thou 
wouldst leave this world with comfort, and look into the other 
world with courage, that thou give it the reading, — ' thou knowest 


not what an hour may bring forth,' — and the Lord give it his 
blessing ! 


Containing an exiiortation to endeavour after regeneration. 

Thirdly, This doctrine may be useful by way of exhortation, and 
that to two sorts of persons. 

1. To the unregenerate. If without regeneration men and 
women can never obtain salvation, then it exhorteth thee, reader, 
if in a state of nature, to mind and labour for this second birth, as 
ever thou wouldst escape the second death. Dost thou not perceive 
by the word of the living God, that except thou art converted, 
thou canst in no wise enter into the kingdom of God ? Mat. xviii. 3. 
Alas ! what then is like to be thy case, shouldst thou die in this 
condition ? Assure thyself that all thy friends and lands, honours 
and pleasures, yea, all the help which this whole world can afford 
thee, cannot keep thee one quarter of an hour out of hell. 

This law, this standing law of heaven, that except a man be 
born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, is like the law of 
the Medes and Persians, which cannot be altered. By their law, 
that which was written in the king's name, and sealed with the 
king's seal, might no man reverse, Esther viii. 8. Friend, is not 
this written, not only in the name, but with the very hand of the 
King of kings, ' I say unto thee,' and sealed with his own seal, 
' Verily, verily' ? and dost thou think, poor worm, to reverse it, to 
turn the truth of the eternal God into a lie ? I tell thee, and I 
would speak it with reverence to the highest Majesty, that God 
himself cannot do it. It is his perfection, that it is impossible for 
him to lie, Titus i. 2. His hand cannot but make good what his 
mouth hath spoken. His will and word have joined regeneration 
and salvation together, and his faithfulness and truth will not 
suffer them to be parted asunder. Therefore think of it timely, and 
turn to God truly, otherwise there is a necessity of thy perishing 

Thou dost not know, as strong and lusty as thou art, how soon 
death may come behind thee, and throw thee ; and oh it will be 
thine eternal overthrow; though, as on Sodom, thy morning be 
sunshiny, yet thou canst not tell how soon it may overcast ; nay, it 
may be followed with flakes of fire before night. Sure I am, that 

Chap. VIIL] by the key of regeneration. 121 

God hath given thee no lease of thy life, and that others have died 
of the same age and likeliness to live ; and why thou shouldst pro- 
mise thyself a privilege beyond others, that thou shalt live longer, 
I know no reason, unless this, that the devil and thine own heart 
have conspired together to murder thy soul, by getting thee to 
future and put off thy conversion till thou comest to hell fire, and 
then thy ruin will be past remedy. Suppose the same voice should 
come to thee which did to Hezekiah, ' Set thine house in order, for 
thou shalt die, and not live,' meaning speedily, what wouldst thou 
do ? Thy house is not in order, thy soul, man, is all out of order, 
and therefore death would come to thee, as Abijah to Jeroboam's 
wife, with heavy tidings, with such news as Samuel brought to Eli, 
which will make thy ears to tingle, and thine heart to tremble. 
Ah, how will he do to die, that never knew how to live ? The 
black usher of death will go before, and the flaming fire of hell will 
follow after. Didst thou but believe the word of God as much as 
the devils do, thou couldst never depart this life in thy wits, who 
hast not led thy life according to God's will. 

One would think the noise of this murdering piece, of this great 
cannon, death, though it should not be very near thee, might 
awaken and affrighten thee ; Avhen that deluge of wrath cometh, 
that the fountain of fury from below is broken up, and the flakes 
of fire from above are rained down, thou hast no ark, no promise, 
no Christ to shelter thyself in ; for regeneration is the plank cast 
out by God himself to save the sinking sinner, by bringing him to 
the Lord Jesus ; and thou wantest it. Dost thou not see that thy 
sentence of death, if thou continuest so, is already passed in the 
high court of heaven, entered and engrossed in the book of Scrip- 
ture ? and God knoweth how soon the word of command may be 
given to some disease for thy execution. 

What comfort, therefore, canst thou take in all the creatures, 
while thou Avantest this new creation ? It is reported of Xerxes,^ 
the greatest of the Persian monarchs, that when the Grecians had 
taken from him Sardis, a famous city in Asia the Less, he com- 
manded one every day at dinner to cry before him with a loud 
voice, Sardis is lost, Sardis is lost. It seems to me that thou hast 
far more cause to have a friend without, or conscience within, to be 
thy monitor, every day and every meal to sound in thy ears, 
Friend, thy soul is lost, thy soul is lost. 

Certainly, such a voice might mar thy greatest mirth, sauce every 
dish with sorrow, make thy most delicate meat a medicine, and thy 
1 Plutarch in Vit. Themist, 


sweetest drink distasteful to thee. Oh, didst thou but know what 
it is to lose thy soul, thy God, thy Christ, thine heaven, and all for 
ever, thou wouldst in the night be scared with dreams and visions, 
and in the day be frighted with fears and terrors. 

When Uriah was bid by David to go down to his house and 
refresh himself, he answered, ' The ark, and Israel, and Judah 
abide in tents ; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are 
encamped in the open fields ; shall I then go into mine house, to eat 
and drink, and lie with my wife ? as thou livest, and as thy soul 
liveth, I will not do this thing,' 2 Sam. xi. 11. Mark, the good 
man could take no pleasure in relations or possessions, because the 
natural lives of others were in danger ; nay, he forswears the use of 
those comforts for that very cause. How then canst thou solace 
thyself with lying vanities, when thine eternal life is, not in jeopardy, 
but lost really, and thou canst not assure thyself one day for its 
recovery ! 

Shouldst thou see a condemned prisoner, which knoweth not 
whether he shall be hanged on the morrow, or the day after, hawk- 
ing or hunting, sprucing himself, or sporting with his jovial com- 
panions, what thoughts wouldst thou have of such a man ? wouldst 
thou not think, surely this man is mad or desperate ! were he not 
beside himself, he would mind somewhat else, since he is so near 
his end. But, friend, turn thine eyes inward, and see whether there 
is not infinitely more reason why thou shouldst wonder at thine own 
folly and madness, who art by the word of the dreadful God con- 
demned, not to be hanged, but to be damned ; not to the gallows, 
but to the unquenchable fire, and canst not tell whether this night, 
or to-morrow morning justice shall be done upon thee, and yet thou 
art buying and selling, eating and drinking, pampering the perish- 
ing body, never minding or thinking what shall become of thy poor 
precious soul to eternity ! 

The wise man's advice is, that if thou art indebted to men, and 
liable to their arrest and imprisonment, thou shouldst not give 
sleep to thine eyes nor slumber to thine eyelids before thou hast 
made thy peace, Prov. vi. 1-4. What speed shouldst thou then 
use, when thou art infinitely indebted to the Almighty God, (at his 
mercy every moment, liable continually to be arrested by that surly 
sergeant death, and by him to be hurried into the dark prison of 
hell,) to agree with thine adversary while thou art in the way ; and 
to get the black lines of thy sins crossed with the red lines of 
Christ's blood, and so for ever blotted out of the book of God's 
remembrance ! As the chamberlain of one of the Persian princes 

Chap. IX.] by the key of regeneration. 123 

used to say to him every morning, Arise, my lord, and have regard 
to the weighty affairs for which the great God would have you to 
provide ; so say I to thee, Awake, man, out of thy carnal 
security, and have regard to the great end for which thou wast 
born, and the great errand for which the great God hath sent thee 
into the world. 

Keader, that thou mightst avoid the endless woe of the damned, 
and attain the matchless weal of the saved, I shall do two things in 
the prosecution of this exhortation. I shall both give thee some 
helps towards regeneration, and remove some hindrances. 

First, I shall offer thee three helps unto holiness, and thereby 
unto heaven. 

Secondly, I shall answer three objections which probably may 
arise in thy heart. 

If thou hast any real desire after thine eternal welfare, ponder 
them seriously, and practise them faithfully, and the good Lord 
make them successful ! Oh how liappy might it be for thee if 
the getting of a regenerate nature were the main task of thy whole 
time ! believe it, thou wilt have no cause to repent of it. 

For the helps towards regeneration, and thereby towards sal- 


The first help to regeneration, serious consideration. 

1. The first help which I shall offer thee is, serious considera- 
tion. He that goeth in a wrong patli, and never thinketh of it, 
will not return back, or turn about, though the farther he goeth 
the greater is his deviation and danger. A serious consideration 
of the evil and end of thy way were a cheap prevention of eternal 
and endless woe. Observe, I say, consideration ; consideration is 
an act of the practical understanding, whereby it reflecteth upon 
its actions and intentions, and comparing them with the rule of 
the word, proceedeth to lay its command upon the will and affec- 
tions to put what is good in execution. 

This was hinted by chewing the cud under the law, and the 
beasts which did not were unclean ; and indeed it is the excellency 
of a man above a beast that he may, in a rational discursive manner, 
meditate on things that concern his salvation, and, by chewing the 
cud, get some nourishment to his soul. It is a pondering the 


sayings of Christ, Luke ii. 19. It is to the soul what digestion is 
to the body ; it is not the quantity of meat, but a good digestion, 
which nourisheth and strengtheneth the body. For they which eat 
much and cannot digest it, instead of repairing, they ruin nature. 
So it is not the great knowledge of the truths of God, but the 
serious consideration and practical application of them, which 
nourisheth and strengtheneth the soul. Without this, men's know- 
ledge, be it never so much, is but like rain in the middle region, or 
fire in the flint, unprofitable, and to no purpose at all. 

I say, serious consideration ; the thoughts must dwell upon divine 
weighty truths. Surely men, if they should do thus, would undo 
all they have done ; but when the thoughts of God and Christ, and 
sin and holiness, death and judgment, heaven and hell, pass speedily 
through them, as travellers through a country, making no stay, no 
wonder if they cannot give any account of the worth and virtue of 
them. It is not the hasty shower, but soft snow, which soaks deep ; 
whilst the former goeth off as fast as it comes on, the latter gently 
creeps into every chink of the ground. 

It is with the truths of God as with a salve ; if a man have never 
so precious a salve, which will help a dangerous mortal wound in 
twelve hours, and he do nothing but lay the plaster, which is spread 
with this salve, on the wound, and take it off presently, it will 
never heal the wound ; if ever it eat out the corruption and cure 
the sore, it must lie on some considerable time together ; the best 
salve under heaven will not otherwise do the wounded man good. 
So if a man turn his thoughts upon the loathsome nature of sin ; 
the unspeakable danger of sinners ; the misery that he is liable to 
whilst he continues carnal ; the mercy that he might obtain if he 
were spiritual ; the all-sufiiciency of God ; the excellency of godli- 
ness ; the purchase of Christ ; and the promises of the gospel ; every 
of which is a precious medicine to cure soul maladies ; yet if his 
thoughts do not stay upon them, if they are only glancing thoughts, 
off and on, like lightning flashing on the conscience and away, they 
will never heal thy spiritual diseases. That messenger which would 
despatch business of weight and concernment must not call at a 
door and then be gone, but he must go in, sit down, and make 
some stay there. 

This serious consideration, friend, I propound to thee an excel- 
lent receipt for the recovery of thy dying soul, ' I considered my 
ways,' saith David, ' and turned my feet unto thy testimonies,' Ps. 
cxix. 59. Some translate the original, I looked on both sides 
upon my ways, I considered them every way, ' and turned my feet 

Chap. IX.] by the key of eegeneration. 125 

unto thy testimonies.' T considered that I was wandering like a 
lost sheep, and then I returned. 

Conversion beginneth at consideration : ' Because he considereth, 
and turneth from all the transgressions which he hath committed, 
he shall surely live, he shall not die,' Ezek. xviii. 28. The mariner 
who is running his vessel against a rock, if he consider it, and steer 
another course, he doth thereby prevent a desperate shipwreck. 

When David would stop the enemies of God in their full career 
of wickedness, he layeth this block in their way, ' Commune with 
your own hearts, and be still,' Ps. iv. 4. Self-communion is one 
special help to sin-confusion and sound conversion. The prodigal 
came to himself before he came to his father. He considered 
what a fool he was to feed with swine upon husks, when he might 
eat bread as in his father's house ; he considered what a madman 
he was to feed on the short commons of the world, and endure the 
slavery of the devil, when he might feast on the exceedings of the 
gospel, and enjoy the liberty of the children of God, After this 
serious consideration he cometh to this solid resolution, ' I will 
arise and go to my father,' Luke xv. 17, and accordingly went, 
and was welcome. 

Truly, reader, it is inconsiderateness that doth both defile thee 
and damn thee ; the want of consideration causeth men to abound 
in sin, 

' The people committed falsehood ; the thief cometh in, the troop 
of robbers spoileth without,' Hosea vii. 1. There was ground full 
of weeds ; but mark, the reason was, because it lay fallow ; it was 
not ploughed up with consideration. ' They consider not in their 
hearts that I remember all their wickedness,' ver. 2, They consider 
not that I remember and record all their omissions, commissions, 
the corruptions of their hearts, transgressions of their lives, and 
write them down with a pen of iron and point of a diamond, Jer. 
xvii, 1, and will bring them forth in the day of slaughter. As the 
foolish bird Pliny speaks of, called struthiocamelus, which thrusts 
her head into a thicket, conceiving that nobody seeth her because 
she seeth nobody, and so becomes a prey to the fowler ; ^ so the 
adulterer, the thief, the drunkard, and the like, consider not that 
God seeth them plainly, hateth their sins perfectly, can turn them 
into hell presently ; and thereby become bold in wickedness ; they 
hide God from themselves, and think that they are hidden from 
God. ' They consider not in their hearts that he remembereth all 
their wickedness,' 

1 Plin., lib. X, cap. 1. 


Friend, when thou seest a man in a frenzy, or one in bedlam, 
tearing their hair, biting and cutting their own flesh, what dost 
thou say ? Surely this man wanteth the use of his reason ; could 
he but use that, without question he would never do thus. May 
not a gracious man that beholdeth thee tearing, lancing, stabbing, 
and wounding thy precious soul with worldliness, swearing, atheism, 
or uncleanness, upon as good ground say. Surely this man wanteth 
consideration ; did he but consider what a jealous God he provoke th, 
what bowels of love he spurneth at, what a hell of sorrow he pro- 
videtli for his long home, he would never do thus ! The ostrich 
leaveth her eggs in the dust, not considering that the feet of the 
passenger will crush them to pieces, because she is deprived of 
wisdom and wanteth understanding. Job xxxix. 14, 15, 17. The 
sinner leaveth his soul naked, and liable to all dangers imaginable, 
because he is void of true wisdom, and liveth without this serious 
consideration, Isa. i, 2-5. They consider not the conclusion, and 
therefore are confident in the commission of sin. ' They consider 
not their last end, therefore they come down mightily,' Lam. i. 9. 

A divine writeth well,i how subtle Satan is to hinder men's con- 
sideration. Satan, saith he, is very jealous of the sinner, afraid 
every Christian that speaks to him, or ordinances he hears, should 
inveigle him ; by his good-will he should come at neither. No, 
nor have a thought of heaven or hell, from one end of the week to 
the other ; and that he may have as few as may be, he keepeth 
him full-handed with his work. The sinner is grinding, and he 
is filling the hopper, that the mill may not stand still. He is with 
the sinner as soon as he wakes, and fills his wretched heart with 
some wicked thoughts, which as a morning draught may keep him 
from the infection of any savour of good that may be breathed on 
him by others in the day-time. All the day long he watcheth him, 
as the master would do his man, that he fears will run away. And 
at night, like a careful jailer, he locks him up again in his chamber, 
with more bolts and fetters upon him, not suffering him to sleep 
as he lieth on his bed, till he hath done some mischief. Ah, poor 
wretch, was ever slave so looked to ? As long as the devil can keep 
thee thus, thou art his own sure enough. 

Now, as that father said of the gospel, that it must needs be 
excellent, because Nero prosecuted it with so much violence ; so 
this consideration must needs be an excellent help to holiness, 
because the devil doth prosecute it with such implacable hatred ; if 
he can keep this door of thy soul shut, he feareth not Christ's 

^ Guraal's Armour, part i. p. 222. 

Chap. IX.] by the key of regeneration. 127 

entrance into thy heart. I have sometime read of a religious father, 
that had a deboist lewd son, that was a great grief to him ; when the 
father was on his death-bed, he made this son to promise him that 
he would be every day of his life half an hour alone by himself. 
The son, making some conscience of his solemn engagement to his 
dying father, used afterwards to retire himself daily for that space 
of time, where at first he busied himself vainly, in thinking of the 
honours and delights of the world ; but afterwards he began to con- 
sider what end his father had in binding him to such retiredness, 
and then thought of his own folly, in wandering from God, and 
embracing a dying and lying world ; and the Spirit striking in with 
those meditations, he became a new man. Oh that, reader, thou 
wouldst go and do as he did ! Is it not an easy remedy ? If God 
should require ten hours every day to be spent in secret, about thy 
soul and salvation, I profess to thee I know not how thou couldst 
spend thy time better, or so well. I am sure it were worth the 
while, friend, to be amongst devils in everlasting torments, 
or with Christ in everlasting pleasures, are other manner of things 
than thou canst imagine ; but I do request of thee, on the behalf of 
God and thy soul, but one half-hour every day, that thou wouldst 
retire thyself into thy chamber, or closet ; — the beautiful bridegroom 
is bashful, and cometh seldom to his church. Cant. iv. 11, or any 
Christian in a crowd ; — and there consider seriously of some things 
which I shall from the Lord propound to thee. Let not the cheap- 
ness of the receipt make thee refuse it ; thou seest sometimes that 
simple herbs, that grow in our own gardens, cure those distempers 
which costly drugs fetched from far cannot. As the general's servant 
said to him, when he raged and fretted at the counsel of the prophet 
for the cure of his leprosy : ' If the prophet had bid thee do some 
great thing, wouldst thou not have done it ? how much rather 
when he saith, Wash, and be clean,' 2 Kings v. 13 ; so say I to thee, 
if I should request more time in a day, if I should desire far greater 
things of thee, for the killing of that leprosy, which otherwise will 
kill thee, wouldst thou not do it ? Ah, didst thou but know the 
price of a Christ, thou wouldst sell all to buy that pearl ; didst thou 
but know the wrath of a just, holy, and infinite God, thou wouldst 
do anything, all things possible, to escape it. How much rather 
when I desire only one half-hour in a day for serious consideration. 
If thou wilt not do it for the avoiding of hell, dost thou not deserve 
to burn for ever. Think of it, reader, whoever thou art, I am very 
loath to leave thee before I have prevailed with thee ; dost thou not 
squander away many an hour vainly, nay, sinfully, in working out 


thy damnation ? and wilt thou not spare one half-hour in a day to 
work out thy salvation in ? How many years hast thou spent in the 
service of thy brutish flesh ? and is half an hour in a day, when 
thou art not sure to live a week, too much for thine angelical spirit ? 
What sayest thou ? wilt .thou promise thy Maker and Redeemer 
that thou wilt do this ? whose advantage is it like to be ; thine or 
mine ? ' If thou art wise, thou art wise for thyself ; but if thou 
art a scorner, thou alone shalt suffer,' Prov. ix. 12. Well, if thou 
wilt not grant me this little time, thou art like to grieve for thy 
refusal eternally. And truly if thou wilt hear Grod in this, I have 
hopes that he will hear thee in far greater : ' Set thine heart, there- 
fore, to all the words which I speak unto thee this day, for it is not 
a vain thing, but it is for thy life,' Deut. xxxii. 46, 47. 

I shall, upon presumption that thou wilt for thy soul's sake use 
that cheap help of consideration, assist thee, by laying down five 
particulars, as subjects of thy most serious thoughts ; and I know 
not one of them but hath such weight, that when thou art consider- 
ing, if the blessed God vouchsafe a meeting, it may do the work. 


The first suhject of consideration, the misery of the unregenerate in 

this ivorld. 

First, Consider the misery which thou liest under, or art liable 
to, whilst thou art unregenerate. 

And were I but able to charge and discharge this great gun 
fully, it might probably fire thee out of all thy sinful holds, and 
force thee to seek unto Christ for help. But as the Roman said of 
his fellow-citizen, that he was beyond all expressions wicked ; so 
may I say of thee, that thou art beyond not only all ex]3ressions, 
but all conceptions, wretched. No ink is black enough to describe 
those dismal clouds of fury under which thou livest in this world. 
But oh, what tongue can tell the thousandth part of those fiery 
torments to which thou art liable in the other world ! 

While thou livest thou art a cursed sinner ; and when thou diest 
thou shalt be a damned creature. 

While thou livest thou art a cursed sinner ; that roll of curses 
twenty cubits long, and ten cubits broad, is thy right, Zech. v. 4. 
Thou art a breaker of the law, and out of Christ, and therefore an 
heir of the curse and wrath of the Lord. 

Chap. X.] by the key of eegeneration. 129 

The Gurse of God hangs every moment over thine head ; like a 
blood-hound, it foUoweth thee wherever thou goest ; as thy shadow, 
it accompanieth thee whatever thou dost ; thou art continually 
under the droppings and spouts of the Almighty God's indignation, 
and canst as soon fly from thyself as from it, till thou art regen- 

Thou art cursed in all thou hast. Whether they are natural, 
civil, or spiritual enjoyments, they are all cursed to thee. 

For thy natural parts, thy wit, memory, knowledge, head, heart, 
are all cursed to thee. They are employed in the service of Satan, 
and with them thou fightest against God and thy soul. As Jehu 
against his master, so thou marchest furiously against thy Maker 
with his own soldiers. Thy memory is Satan's treasury, thy will 
an agent for hell, thy carnal mind enmity against God: the 
handmaids of thy affections, like Hagar, crow over their mistress, 
and make even thy reason a slave and lackey to thy sensual lusts ; 
all thy natural endowments are Satan's ornaments. And as the 
more sharp and keen the weapon is, the more mischief the mur- 
derer doth with it ; so the more witty thou art, the more wicked 
thou art, thy wisdom being ' from below, earthly, sensual, devilish,' 
James iii. 15. 

For thy civil advantages, thy wealth, credit, house, delights, 
friends, are all cursed to thee. Thy riches make thee the greater 
rebel, and thereby further thine eternal ruin. Thy fulness breeds 
forgetfulness. Where the richest mines are, the earth is most 
barren. Thy wealth is like fuel to feed thy wantonness. 

Thine honour, like wind, puffeth up the bladder of thine empty 
heart with pride. The more God lifteth thee up, the more thou 
castest him down ; the respectful breath of thy neighbours doth 
but blow the vessel of thy soul towards hell. 

Thy pleasures are prejudicial to thy precious soul. Like the wasp, 
thou drownest thyself in those pots of honey ; and as the silly fish, 
swimmest merrily down the silver streams of Jordan, till thou 
fallest into the dead sea and perishest. 

Thy relations and friends, if wicked, are cursed to thee ; they 
breathe on thee, and thou takest the infection, wanting this preser- 
vative of regeneration. They are actually what Michal was to 
David, intentionally in regard of Saul, snares unto thee. 

Thy house is cursed : ' The curse of the Lord is in the house of 
the wicked,' Pro v. iii. 33. Whatever cost be there, there can be no 
true cheer, for there is God's curse, which mars all ; this will either 
rot the timber, and pull it down, or undermine the foundation, and 

VOL. V. I 


blow it up. Possibly there may be in thine house a loving wife, 
lovely children, many servants, stately rooms, costly furniture, 
dainty fare, great earthly delights ; but, man, the curse of God is 
there. A spoonful of this, like copperas, will turn all thy wine into 
ink ; thy sea of honey into gall and wormwood. How can thy 
sweetest dish be savoury, when the curse of God is thy sauce ? Or 
thy most sugared cup be pleasant, when the curse of God lieth, like 
a toad, swelled at the bottom? or thy finest raiment delight thee, 
when in every suit there is the curse of God, like a plague-sore ? or 
how can thy most beautiful building content thee, when this curse 
of God on thee for thy wickedness turns it into a prison to keep 
thee, who art in the bond of iniquity, till the hour of death, the 
time of thine execution ? ' 

There is a place which some speak of in the West Indies, where 
there is extraordinary luscious fruit growing, but the inhabitants 
are so scorched with the heat of the sun by day, and multitude of 
gnats stinging them by night, that they cannot either eat or digest 
their sweet meats with any comfort ; for which cause the Spaniards 
call the place, comfits in hell. Eeader, what delight canst thou 
take in thy table, though it be spread with various earthly enjoy- 
ments, when every dish is served in with the scorching wrath of 
God, and stingings of a guilty conscience ? As a feast to him that 
sat under a naked sword, as wine to a condemned malefactor, as 
Dives' dishes followed with the unquenchable fire, so are all the 
comforts of this inferior creation to an unregenerate person. 

Thou art a curse to thy children. It is ill to have relation to 
thee, who art under the indignation of God : ' The seed of evil- 
doers shall never be renowned,' Isa. xiv. 20 ; so Job v. 3, 4. If thy 
children are good, thou art their grief ; if wicked, thou wilt make 
them worse. The best of them may smart temporally for thine 
iniquities. When the body of the tree falleth, the branches fall 
with it, Exod. xx. 5 ; and oh how much more is it to be feared 
that thou wilt draw them after thee both to sin and hell ! 

It is not safe to be thy neighbour. If it be ill to dwell near him 
whose house is on fire, surely it is not good to be nigh him who is 
under God's fury. When an overflowing storm sweepeth away the 
wicked, the tail of it may dash at their best neighbours. Though 
they shall not perii^h with thee, yet they may smart for thee. 

Thy name is cursed : ' The name of the wicked shall rot,' Prov. 
X. 7. Thou mayest be honourable in the esteem of thy graceless 
neighbours, but thou art contemptible in the account of Christ and 
his members ; and whenever thou diest, thou wilt go out like a 

Chap. X.] by the key of REGEisrEKATiON. 131 

candle, leaving behind thee a stinking savour in the nostrils of the 

Thy calling, whatever it be, is cursed ; thine earthly employment 
proves a heavenly impediment : ' Thou art cursed in the city, and 
cursed in the field ; cursed in thy basket, and cursed in thy store ; 
cursed in the fruit of thy body and the fruit of thy land, and in- 
crease of thy kine, and flocks of thy sheep ; cursed when thou 
comest in, and cursed when thou goest out. The Lord will send 
upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest 
thine hand unto, until thou be destroyed and perish quickly, be- 
cause of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken 
the Lord,' Deut. xxviii. init. et per tot. 

As thy natural parts and civil advantages, so also thy spiritual 
privileges are cursed to thee, till thou turnest from sin. Thou en- 
joyest sermons, sacraments. Sabbaths, seasons of grace, and, like the 
spider, suckest poison out of those sweet flowers. Koses, some say, 
kill horse-flies. Is it not sad that those precious mercies should 
hasten and increase thy misery ! Thine unregeneracy, like some 
desperate disease, turneth those medicines which are administered to 
cure it, into the nourishment and confirmation of the sickness itself ; 
the word of God is the savour of death unto death unto thee, 2 Cor. 
ii. 16. Thou surfeitest of that bread of life, than which no surfeit 
is more dangerous ; thou growest black and wanzy in the sunshine 
of the gospel ; the table of the Lord is to thee the table of devils ; 
the leaven of thy unregeneracy turneth that passover into pollu- 
tion ; Christ himself is a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, 
1 Pet. ii, 8. This Sun of righteousness, which the sound eye of 
the regenerate beholds with much pleasure, is not beheld by thy 
sore eyes without much pain. The Red Sea of his blood, through 
which the true Israelites pass safely into the celestial Canaan, is 
destruction to thee, being an uncircumcised Egyptian: ' The very 
grace of God is turned by thee into wantonness,' Jude 4. 

Thou makest sour vinegar of that sweet wine, and makest use of 
those gales to help thee to hell, which were sent to help thee to 
heaven : ' Unto thee who art unbelieving and defiled is nothing 
pure,' Tit. i. 15. As the earth hath the greatest cold in the bottom 
of it when the sun shineth on it with the greatest heat to qualify it ; 
so is thine heart dead and cold under all the warm influences of 

What a dreadful condition art thou in, that those privileges 
which are choice blessings to others should be cursed to thee, and 
greaten both thy sin and suffering ! The fruit of those trees which 


stand in the sun, growetli greater than of those which grow in the 
shade ; so do thy sins under the gospel of Christ wax greater than 
those which want it, Mat. xi. 21-23 ; Heb. x. 28, 29. 

And as these sacred advantages increase thy corruption, so also 
thy destruction. When the physic which should remove the dis- 
temper co-operates with it, it brings death with the more speed and 
pain. No creature more terrible than fire, and no fire so terrible as 
that which is taken from the altar : ' Take fire from the altar, and 
scatter it over the city,' Ezek. x. 2. They thought the fire of the 
altar had been only for the expiation of sin, but God makes them 
know that it was for the desolation of their city.^ 

But thou art not only cursed in what thou hast, but also in what 
thou dost. 

All thine actions, whether inward or outward, whether worldly 
or rehgious, are all sinful and cursed. Like the leper under the 
law, thou taintest whatever thou touchest, and makest it unclean. 
Thy thoughts, the first-born of thy soul, and thy purest offspring, are 
all vain. Thine heart is a sink of sin, an ocean of corruption ; and 
therefore is ever sending forth and bubbling up mire and dirt : 
' The imaginations and thoughts of thy heart are evil, only evil, 
and that continually,' Gen. vi. 9. Thy words are wicked ; the inward 
wheels of thy spirit being disordered, the clock of thy tongue can- 
not strike true. The inward dunghill reeketh, and sendeth forth 
its stench much this way: Rom. iii. 13, 14, ' Thy mouth is full of 
cursing and bitterness ; the poison of asps is under thy lips ; thy 
throat is an open sepulchre,' like a grave when opened, sending 
forth noisome and stinking exhalations. 

Thy calling is not without its corruption : ' The ploughing of 
the wicked is sin,' Pro v. xxi. 4. Thy very eating, drinking, sleep- 
ing, buying, selling, whatever thou dost is evil. Though such 
actions are indifferent in themselves — for all indifferency lieth in 
generals — yet, as done by thee from wicked principles, and for 
wicked ends, they are stark naught. Nay, thy very religious actions 
are sinful and unacceptable to God : ' The sacrifice of the wicked is 
an abomination to the Lord,' Prov. xv. 8. Thine incense stinks of 
the hand that offereth it, therefore the heart of God cannot away 
with it, Isa. i. 13-15 ; and Ixvi. 3. The vessel of thine heart is 
not clean, and God will not taste of the liquor which cometh out of 
it. Because thy person is not accepted, thy performances are all 
rejected : ' Thou art in tlie flesh, and therefore canst not please 
God,' Rom. viii. 8. Thy duties are done without heart or heat, 

■^ Calvin in loc. 

Chap. X.] by the key of regeneration. 133 

and being dead carcases, without spiritual life, must needs he un- 

Thus, man, art thou miserable who art in a state of nature — thine 
unregenerate heart being like some filthy fen, or as some write of 
the lake of Sodom, which continually sendeth up poisonous 
vapours. Oh, into what dangerous dilemmas doth thine unregene- 
racy bring thee ! If thou enjoyest the means of grace, by abusing 
them thou increasest thy misery, Heb. x. 28. If thou neglect- 
est them, thou leavest thyself without remedy, and perishest un- 
avoidably, Prov. xxix. 18 ; Eom. x. 15. If thou art in pros- 
perity, the sunshine thereof doth but ripen thee for ruin, as the 
sun the grape, for the winepress of the Lord's wrath, Prov. i. 31 ; Ps. 
Ixix. 22. If thou art in adversity, the fire thereof doth but harden 
thine heart of clay, 2 Chron. xxviii. 22. Thy misery, as Plutarch 
writes of drums to tigers, maketh thee mad;^ thou frettest like 
one in a frenzy, 2 Kings vi, 33, against the Lord. If thou re- 
joicest, thy laughter is from the teeth, outward. Is not thine 
heart many a time heavy, when thy looks are lively ? Prov. xiv, 
13. Doth not conscience, when thou, like Belshazzar, art carous- 
ing in thy cups, spread forth a handwriting before thee, a black 
list of thy sins, and God's wrath, which turneth all thy mirth into 
mourning ? At best thy laughter is but like crackling of thorns 
under a pot, which maketh a short blaze and bustling noise, and 
then vanisheth into smoke and ashes, Dan. v. 5,6 ; Isa. Ivii. 21. If 
thou weepest, thy tears are puddle- water, and so thy worldly sorrow 
here but a pledge and earnest of thy sufferings hereafter. If thou 
livest long, thou heatest hell the hotter, every day ' treasuring up 
wrath upon thine head against the day of wrath,' Kom. ii. 5. If 
thou diest soon, thou makest the more haste to hell, taking a short 
cut to thy long and doleful home. 

If thou lookest upward, thou may est see God frowning, and his 
wrath revealed from heaven against thee, Eom. i. 18. Thou 
mayest behold, as it were, the heavens and their host ready every 
moment to discharge God's curse like a thunderbolt upon thee. If 
thou lookest downward, thou mayest see hell gaping, as the earth 
did to Korah, and opening its mouth wide, to swallow thee up 
quick. If thou lookest within thee, thou mayest see conscience, 
which thou hast abused, as the Philistines did Samson, by putting 
out its eyes, causing it to grind at the devil's mill, and making 
sport with it, resolving, when it shall recover its strength, to be 
avenged on thee, and to make thee perish, though it perish with 

^ Plutarch, lib. de Superstis. 


thee. If thou lookest without thee, there is no sight but what may 
call thee to sighs and sobs. If thou lookest upon the creatures, are 
not they armed with stings and murdering instruments on the be- 
half of their Creator, and always ready to let fly at thee, who art a 
rebel against his Majesty ? If thou lookest into Scriptures, there 
is a table richly spread, which they that are born of God sit at, 
with adoption, remission, peace, love, the purchase of Christ, the 
comforts of the Spirit, which thou, as the unbelieving lord, mayest 
see, but shalt not so much as taste of. Thou mayest see a cheru- 
bim therewith a flaming sword, to guard that tree of life, and keep 
thee out of that pleasant paradise. Nay, thou mayest behold there 
the plagues and judgments, the pain and punishments, which the 
righteous God threateneth against, and will execute upon thee and 
all in thy condition. In a word, thou mayest, as it were, find thy 
very self mentioned in the forlorn hope for hell, 1 Cor. vi. 6, 9, 10 ; 
Kev. xxi. 6, 7. 

While thou livest, thou art fed like a beast by a common provi- 
dence, and art a mere stranger to all the saving promises. If at any 
time thou fingerest the unsearchable riches in Christ, like the 
riches which Solomon speaks of, they make themselves wings and fly 
away from thee; thou goest every day without thy guard, being 
turned naked into the wide world amongst legions of devils and 
soul-damning lusts, to be rent and torn in pieces, like a silly hare 
amongst a pack of hounds, and none to shelter thee, or call them 
oflp. Many dangers attend thee every day, many miseries every 
moment. When thou goest out or comest in, liest down or risest 
up, still are those frightful hell-hounds watching for thee, and 
waiting only for leave from God, (oh that his long-suffering might 
be unto thee salvation !) to drag thy soul into the lake of fire. 
There is but a hair's-breadth, as it were, between thee and hell. 

And oh, when thou diest, man, what wilt thou then do ? As 
soon as that captain, death, strikes the first stroke, whole armies of 
woes will fall upon thee. 

Header, I have told somewhat of thy lamentable portion in this 
life, though none can give thee a full inventory of thy personal 
wretched state. One would think that every line under this head 
should be as a dagger stabbing thee at the heart, and that if there 
were nothing else but these small guns — I call them so comparatively 
— of miseries in this world, the fear of them should cause thee to 
fly, as the distressed dove, to the clefts of the rock, the wounds of a 
crucified Christ. But this is not all ; the murdering-piece, the 
great ordnance, is yet behind. I must hasten to write of thy misery 

Chap. X.] by the key of regeneration. 135 

in the other world, which thou, poor wretch, though now without 
fear, yet art hastening to feel. 

As while thou livest thou art a cursed sinner, so when thou 
diest thou art a damned creature. Here I confess I shall fail much 
more than before ; for no pen can describe, no pencil can delineate, 
— though both did it in blood, to the utmost of human wit and art, 
— the thousand thousandth part of that pain which thou shalt there 
undergo. I have read of a court where it was made death to men- 
tion death. Surely the word death must needs sound dreadfully in 
thine ears, because, when it comes, it will strike, and that home. It 
will both kill thee and damn thee. It will part thy body and soul 
for a time, and God and thy soul to eternity. It will send thy 
body to the grave, and thy soul to hell. Thy condition now is lamen- 
table and dangerous ; but then, oh then, it will be irrecoverable and 
desperate. Thy death' s-day will be thy doomsday, wherein the 
guilty prisoner of the soul shall be fetched out of the noisome jail 
of the body, and appear before the Judge of the whole earth, and 
from him receive a sentence of eternal death, and then be hurried by 
frightful devils to execution. It is storied of Charles, king of 
Sweden, a great enemy of the Jesuits, that when he took any of 
their colleges, he would put the younger sort of them into the mines, 
saying, that since they had wrought hard above ground, he would 
make trial how well they could work under ground. Truly thus 
Satan will serve thee ; when thou hast wrought hard for him on 
earth, he will pay thee thy wages in the dark vaults of hell, and 
make trial how well thou canst work there. Ah, who would serve 
such a master ! Look to it, and remember that thou wast warned 
of it ; for if thou diest naturally before thou livest spiritually, thou 
diest eternally. 

Augustine's prayer was. Hack me, hew me, burn me here, but 
spare hereafter. Spare me hereafter. Alas ! what will thy condi- 
tion be ? Thou art in hell upon earth ; for thou livest without God, 
whose gracious presence is heaven ; and in hell, after death ; thou 
shalt never be spared here nor hereafter. Now thou art a cursed 
sinner, and then thou shalt be a damned creature. Thy best is 
past, and thy worst to come, though thy best portion is a poor 
pittance, a few brutish pleasures. 



The misery of the unregenerate in the othe?' world. 

I come now to thy misery in the other world. 

Eternal death will teach thee six lessons, though now neither 
mercy nor misery, neither fair means nor foul means, can prevail 
with thee to learn them. 

First, It will teach thee the vanity of this world. Thou now seest 
it written with the finger of God in his word, in capital letters, 
' Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,' Eccles. i. 3, yet thou wilt not be- 
lieve it. As it is reported of a gentlewoman, that being told so, 
answered. It is true Solomon said so, but he tried the world first, 
and so will I. Thou wilt try the world also before thou wilt trust 
the world ; but be confident, in the other world thou wilt find God 
true to thy cost, when thine honour, which now is but the breath 
of thy neighbour, a thin cabinet of air, which every one hath a key 
to but thyself, shall be blown away ; when thy wealth, which hath 
great eagle's wings to fly from thee here, shall not have so much as 
a small sparrow's wing to follow after thee there ; and when all thy 
earthly comforts, for which thou sellest thy soul and thy Saviour, 
shall, as the pharisees did Judas, leave thee in the greatest ex- 
tremity, and bid thee look to thyself. 

Then possibly thou wilt say, as Cardinal Wolsey when he was 
out of favour with his prince, and left by him to the rage of his 
enemies. If I had served my God as faithfully as I have served my 
king, he would not have served me thus ; so thou wilt think, If I 
had served my God as faithfully as I have served the world, he 
would not have served me thus, to leave me in my greatest need to 
the rage of scorching flames, to the fury of roaring lions, and tor- 
menting devils ; if I had served my Saviour as faithfully as I have 
served my sins, I should have received other manner of pay. 

But for all thy faithful service to the world and thy flesh, they 
will forsake thee. Thou mayest then cry to the things of this world, 
which have so much of thy time, and heart, and trust, and which 
are indeed thy god, as those idolaters did to their idol-god, 
Baal, hear us ; riches, hear me ; friends, hear me ; pleasures, 
hear me ; merry-meetings, hear me ; relations, hear me ! Yea, 
if thou shouldst continue crying never so long, thou couldst not 
have the least help : were it 23ossible for them to speak to thee 
when thou art in the other world, it must be the same answer 

Chap. XI] by the key of regeneration. 137 

which the king of Israel gave a poor widow in her distress ; ' Help 
my lord the king/ saith she ; ' If the Lord help not, I cannot help,' 
saith the king ; such would their answer be to thee, If the Lord 
help not, we cannot help. But, friend, what will thy case be when 
they cannot help, and God will not help! what a poor helpless 
creature wilt thou be for ever ! 

Secondly, It will teach thee the severity of the Lord. Now pos- 
sibly thou knowest what the pain of the teeth is, or what the fury 
of a fever, or what the violence of the gout, or what the rack of the 
stone is, iDiit not what the wrath of the Lord is : though these 
things speak it somewhat, yet thou dost not believe it at all ; but 
then feeling will be believing. Suppose every part of thy body 
were as much tortured as ever thou hast felt any one part, and 
that for ten thousand years, how heavy would it be to bear ! this 
were but a flea-biting to what thy body must undergo in hell. 
And yet the torments of thy soul will be the soul of thy torments : 
in the other world thou shalt know what the worm that never 
dieth, what the fire that never goeth out, what blackness of dark- 
ness, what to be tormented day and night, what weeping and wail- 
ing, and gnashing of teeth, what destruction from the presence of 
the Lord, what the wrath of the Lamb mean, Mark ix. 43, 44 ; 2 
Thes. i. 7, 8. 

Oh, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God ! 
Heb. xii. 31. His wrath is as the roaring of a lion, Amos. iii. 4 ; 
as a terrible earthquake, which makes the hills to quake, Ps. xviii. 
7, 8 ; as the rage of a bear robbed of her whelps, Hosea xiii. 8 ; it is 
a devouring fire, the most terrible of all God's creatures. Tophet 
is prepared of old — for unregenerate ones it is prepared ; he hath 
made it deep and large, the pile thereof is fire and much wood ; 
the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it, 
Isa. iii. 26. Fire, which is so irresistible, that thou art but straw 
and stubble before it ; so intolerable, that thou wilt moan and 
mourn, sigh and sob, under it ; so unquenchable, that when it is 
kindled in God's anger, it shall burn to the lowest hell, Deut. xxxii.; 
this fire, I say, will speak a little what that great fury is which 
thou shalt feel. I have read, that a frown of Queen Elizabeth's 
killed Sir Christopher Hatton, the lord chancellor of England.! 
What then will the frowns of the King of nations do? If the 
rocks rent, the mountains melt, and the foundations of the earth 
tremble under his wrath, what wilt thou do ? 

When God shall with one hand strike thee according to his in- 
^ Cambden's Elizab. 


finite anger, and with his other hand support thee by his infinite 
power, to feel the stroke of that fury, who can express or conceive 
what thou shalt endure ? When thou considerest that the WTath of 
God hath thrown milhons of angels out of heaven, drowned a whole 
world, destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone, 
opened a floodgate of matchless miseries, and let them in upon 
Adam's posterity, thou mayest conceive a little what it is. But 
when thou considerest that this cup of the Lord's wrath made 
Jesus Christ, who in his person was true God, when he did but sip 
of it, to be all over in a bloody sweat in a cold winter's night, and 
that in such abundance, that the clods of blood trickled down from 
his face to the ground, and when he drank it off, to cry out in bit- 
terness of soul, and anguish of spirit, ' My God, my God, why hast 
thou forsaken me ? ' what apprehension wilt thou have of the in- 
dignation of the Lord ! Well, all this must fall on thee if thou 
diest in this estate. How darest thou any longer to provoke the 
Lord to anger ! art thou stronger than he ? 1 Cor. x. 22. The 
Roman would not contest with his sovereign that could command 
legions. Wilt thou by sin contend with that God who can com- 
mand fire to burn thee, chains to bind thee, brimstone to choke 
thee, lions to tear thee, serpents to sting thee, scorj)ions to scourge 
thee, darkness to- fright thee, devils to rack thee, worms to gnaw 
thee, millions of woes to seize on thee, and hell to hold thee to feel 
all this for ever? Mat. xviii. 9, 10, and xxii. 13; Jude 6-12; 
Mark ix. 44. Ah ! ' who knoweth the power of thine anger ? ac- 
cording to thy fear, so is thy wrath,' Ps. xc. 11. 

Thirdly, It will teach thee the woeful nature and fruit of sin. 
Now thou canst mock at mischief, and sport with sin, as if it were 
nothing ; but, good Lord ! what thoughts wilt thou have of thy 
most pleasurable wickedness in the other world, when the sensual 
delightful streams thereof shall be dried up with the scorching heat 
of God's wrath, and nothing left but the mud of horror and vexa- 
tion ! Sin dogs thee up and down all the while thou livest, as the 
fowler doth the flying bird ; conscience will ever now and then give 
thee a gripe, have a fling at thee whether thou wilt or no ; but 
when the bird settles, then the gun goeth off: so when thou art 
settled in thine own place, then expect the murdering piece. After 
thy death, the vermin of thy lusts will crawl in thee, and feed upon 

Thou shalt see all thy millions of sins like an army set in order, 
and marshalled in rank and file before thine eyes, and every one 
with their envenomed arrows, poisoned bullets, and wounding 

Chap. XI.] by the key of EEGENErATioN. 139 

weapons, set in array against thee. First original sin, the com- 
mander-in-chief, marcheth up in the front; after that, thine innumer- 
able actual transgressions ; thy carnal-mindedness, unbelief, pride, 
adultery, hypocrisy, drunkenness, swearing, lying, malice, hatred, 
envy, unrighteousness, atheism, blasphemy, profanation of the 
Lord's day, undutifulness to parents, unthankfulness for mercies, 
unprofitableness under the means of grace, incorrigibleness under 
afHictions ; thy secret, private, public sins ; thy omissions, commis- 
sions ; thy personal, relative sins : all these, and many which thou 
never thinkest of, shall let fly whole volleys of shot upon thee. 

Then thou wilt know that it is sin which hath made thee so 
like to Satan ; that it is sin which hath separated between God and 
thy soul ; that it is sin which hath shut heaven against thee ; that 
it is sin which hath brought thee into hell ; that though sin be de- 
lightful in the act, yet it is dreadful, it is damnable, in the end. 
Oh, it will be sin indeed there ! Now thou walkest lightly under the 
weight of those grievous sins, which make the whole creation to 
groan ; but then thou wilt feel sin to be a burden too heavy for 
thee to bear. 

A massy piece of timber floating upon the waters, and swimming, 
may be drawn this way or that way by one man ; but when it is 
once grounded, he cannot stir it, it will be so heavy : so now thou 
art borne up with the streams of worldly comforts, thy sins are easy 
and light ; but when thou comest once to touch at land, at thy 
long home, they will be so poisonous for their nature, and so pon- 
derous for their weight, that thou wilt cry out sadly and despair- 
ingly, what Paul did sorrowfully, yet believingly, ' wretched man 
that I am ! who shall deliver me from this body of death ? ' Kom. 
vii. 24. 

The god of this world now blindeth thine eyes that thou neither 
seest their number nor colour ; but in that long long night of 
blackness of darkness all those ghosts will walk, and then they will 
be ghastly indeed. Those arrows of sin, which now thou shootest 
out of sight, will then fall down upon the head of the archer. 

Fourthly, It will teach thee the worth of a Saviour. When thou 
feelest the want of a Saviour, thou shalt know, by woeful experience, 
the worth of a Saviour. Sickness now probably teacheth thee 
the worth of health, and pain the comfort of ease. Truly those 
torturing pains and racking diseases, with which thou shalt be 
eternally affected, will teach thee, though it will be a miserable 
learning, the great price and worth of the physician of souls. 

Jesus Christ is more worth to a saint in this world than the 


whole world. If all the rocks were rubies, and all the dust gold, 
and the whole globe a shining chrysolite, yet he would count all 
but dross and dung in comparison of Christ ; nay, of one hour's or 
moment's communion with him. But thou seest here no such 
virtue in his blood, no such value in his passion, no such beauty 
in his person, no such excellency in his precepts ; but when thou 
shalt feel the wrath of God, the curse of the law, the torments of 
hell, the poison and sting of sin, then a Kedeemer will be a Ke- 
deemer indeed. 

Now the Son of the ever blessed God tendereth himself to thee 
with many entreaties, goeth after thee up and down, night and 
day, knocking at the door of thine heart, with all his graces, com- 
forts, and fruits of his death, by the ministry of his word, the 
motions of his Spirit, multitudes of temporal and spiritual mercies ; 
but thou, unworthy wretch, slightest both him and his precious 
attendants, and esteemest thy shop and stock, thy corn and carnal 
comforts, far before him ; but when thou shalt see what a weight 
of glory, what rivers of pleasures, others enjoy through the Saviour, 
and thyself feel more torment and pain than thou canst now pos- 
sibly think or fear, for want of a Saviour, surely thou wilt have 
other manner of thoughts of him than now tliou hast. 

It would be as much worth to thee as heaven, now to know Jesus 
Christ and him crucified ; but it will be the hell of thine hell to 
know him there. Oh how deeply it will cut thine heart with 
horror to think that that Christ, whom thou shalt see at his 
Father's right hand, waited on thee till his head was wet with the 
dew, and his locks with the drops of the night, called frequently 
and fervently after thee, Turn, turn, sinner ! why wilt thou die, 
and run thus upon thy ruin ? And yet thou wert as deaf as an 
adder, and wouldst not hear the voice of that sweet charmer. 

Fifthly, It will teach thee the preciousness of time. Eternity 
will learn thee the value of time, when in that long evening and 
night, which shall never have a morning, thou shalt remember 
and consider that thou hadst a day of grace. Oh thou wilt think. 
Time was when I had the tenders and offers of all that love and 
life, mercy and merits, heaven and happiness, of w^hich yonder 
blessed souls are possessors ; when mercy came kneeling to me for 
acceptance, grace came a-begging at the door of my heart for ad- 
mittance, it followed me to bed and board, abroad and at home, 
beseeching me for the love of God, for the sake of my poor soul, 
to turn from lying vanities to the living God. How often did the 
minister with many entreaties invite, exhort, beseech me to pity 

Chap. XL] by the key of eegeneration. 141 

my dying soul, 2 Cor, vi. 1, to leave my damning sins, and heartily 
to embrace my loving Saviour with all speed, assuring me from the 
word of the eternal God that then was the only accepted time, then 
was the only day of salvation ! But I despised and deferred all. I 
thought I had time enough before me, and woe, and alas, it is now 
too late ; the sun of my life is set, the gate of mercy is shut ; I 
did not work in my day, and now the things of my peace are for 
ever hid from mine eyes. Alas, alas ! poor creature, what wilt 
thou do in such an hour ? 

Now thou wantest ways to spend thy time. Were it not for the 
ale-house, or good fellowship, or some sinful or vain sports, thou 
couldst not tell what to do with thy time. Now thou esteemest it 
as a mere drug that hangs upon thy hand. How many a pre- 
cious hour dost thou throw away, though the revenues of the whole 
world cannot purchase or call back a moment ! but then thou wilt 
cry, as that foolish lady on her death-bed, who wantoned it away 
in her life-time, Call time again, call time again ! but all in vain. 
When thou art once entered upon thine eternity, there can be no 
recalling of time. 

I have read of Archias, the Lacedemonian, that whilst he was 
carousing in his cups amongst his jovial companions, one delivers 
him a letter purposely to acquaint him that some lay in wait to 
take away his life, and withal desired him to read it presently, 
because it was matter of concernment. Oh, saith he, Cras seria, 
Serious things to-morrow ; but he was slain that night. ^ So, whilst 
thou art wallowing in the mire of sensual pleasures, a messenger 
from God is sent purposely to tell thee that Satan and sin lie in 
ambushment to murder thy soul, and withal entreateth thee to 
mind it speedily, that thou mightst prevent it ; but thou criest, 
at least in thy heart and practice, Serious things to-morrow ; re- 
pentance, faith, and holiness hereafter ; but before that Jierea/ter 
come thou art in hell, and then present time will be precious 
when it is past. 

Thou wilt then remember how exceeding careful thou wast to 
plough and sow thy ground in its season, and how mad and foolish 
to put oif the ploughing up the fallow-ground of thy heart, and 
sowing to the Spirit, till the season of grace was past. 

Sixthly, It will teach thee the knowledge of eternity, though 
indeed this lesson will be ever learning by thee, and never learned. 
Thou shalt suffer the vengeanoe of eternal fire, Jude 7, and be 
tormented day and night for ever and ever, Rev. xiv. 10. 

^ Plutarch in Pelopid. 


Thou wouldst not burn a whole year, no, not one day, in one of 
thy kitchen fires, for a kingdom. But oh, then thou shalt be in a 
ten thousand times hotter fire, and for ever ! Ah, who can 
dwell in everlasting burnings ! Who can endure unquenchable 
flame ! Isa. xxxiii. 14. It is written of the lord chancellor 
Egerton, that going through AVestminstcr Hall, in term-time, he 
saw written upon the wall, by one that was fearful he should be 
oppressed by a potent adversary, Tanquam non reversurus, as 
though he should never return more. Truly, when tliou art once 
cast into that prison thou shalt never come out. As the cloud is 
consumed and washed away, so he that goeth down into hell re- 
turneth no more, Job vii. 9. The worm there dieth not, and the 
fire there never goeth out ; there is blackness of darkness for ever ; 
the smoke of thy torment will ascend for ever and ever, Mat. xviii. 
10 ; Jade 7 ; Rev. xiv. 10, 11. friend, didst thou but know 
what this eternity of torment is, thou wouldst howl and roar, and 
never rest day nor night whilst thou art unconverted. It is an age 
of ever living in death and pangs, and yet never expiring ; a circle 
of sorrows which knoweth no end ; an extremity of pain which 
shall have no period. When thou hast lain under those incon- 
ceivable torments as many millions of ages as there are creatures 
great and small in heaven, earth, and the vast ocean, thou shalt 
not be nearer coming out than the first moment thou didst go in. 
Now thou thinkest prayers are long, sermons are long, and Sab- 
baths are long, and duties are long ! but how long wilt thou think 
eternity to be ! Now thou sayest the preacher is long-winded ; 
but ah ! how long-winded will hell be, when it shall hold thee 
ever, ever, ever, to feel the stroke of infinite power and 
anger ! 

Thus, reader, while thou livest, thou art a cursed creature, and 
when thou diest, a damned sinner. In life thou art cursed in all 
thou hast, in all thou dost ; after death thou shalt know the vanity 
of the world, the anger of the Lord, the woeful nature and efi'ects 
of sin, the worth of a Saviour, the preciousness of time, and what 
a boundless, bottomless ocean eternity is. ' Consider this, ye that 
fear God, lest he tear you in pieces when there is none to deliver 
you/ Ps. 1. 22. 

But possibly thou, reader, though unregenerate, dost not feel tliis 
curse, nor fear this wrath, therefore thou thinkest all is safe. 
But answer me this question, Doth not the word of God speak 
more of thy misery, both in this and the other world, than I have or 
can speak? And canst thou imagine that thine unbelief shall 

Chap. XL] by the key of regeneration. 143 

make God a liar ? I tell thee the same scriptm-e of truth which 
speaketh of thy misery, speaketh of thy stupidity, 1 Thes. v. 3, 4, 
that thou wilt even mock and scoff when thou art told of it, 2 Pet. 
iii. 2. Truly thy sottish senselessness is the chain by which hell's 
jailer holds thee so fast. The sick patient that feeleth his pain is 
in a hopeful way of recovery, when he that is sick and senseless is 
usually given over for dead. 

It is observed of those that are taken with the frenzy, the disease 
being got into the cockloft of reason, that the more the disease doth 
affect them, so much the more secure they are, careless of any- 
thing, presumptuous in all things, fearful of nothing, as having lost 
the use of common sense.l So is it with thee ; the more sinful, the 
less sensible ; the more the dust of sin flies up into thine eyes, the 
more blind thou art now ; but when death comes, it will clear up 
thy sight. Pliny saitli of the mole, that though she be blind all 
the time of her life, yet when she cometh to die she openeth her 
eyes.2 Truly, though now thou shuttest thine eyes, and art blind 
in these things, yet within a few days thou shalt come to die, and 
then thine eyes will be opened, and thou wilt see all these things, 
and very much more, as clearly as the sun at noonday. 

Therefore, friend, what dost thou say now to this first subject of 
consideration — the misery which thou liest under, and art liable to 
whilst thou art unregenerate ? Would any man, that were not 
mad, continue quiet in such an estate one moment ? Ah, who 
would live one hour under such a torrid zone for a world ? Dost 
thou believe, that as they whom God blesseth are blessed indeed, 
so they whom he curseth are cursed indeed ? When Christ cursed 
the fig-tree, how speedy and effectual was it ! The disciples say, 
' How soon is the fig-tree withered away,' Mat. xxi. 19, 20. So 
will it be to thee as certain, though not so sudden ; like a moth, it 
will devour thee surely, yet it may be secretly, that thou shalt 
take no notice of it. Let conscience speak : Art thou contented 
to be night and day, wherever thou goest, and whatever thou doest, 
under God's curse in this word? If not, then acquaint thyself 
now with God, and be at peace, and good ; a blessing instead of a 
curse shall come to thee, Job xxii. 21. But if thou canst bear 
God's curse so patiently here, not sinking under it, being kept 
above water with the skin-deep bladders of common blessings, yet 
what wilt thou do hereafter when all these shall be parted from 
thee ? Canst thou so quietly in the other world hear that voice, 

^ Arist. 

^ Oculos incipit aperlre moriendo, quos clausos habuit vivendo. 


and feel the execution of that verse : ' Go, thou cursed, into ever- 
lasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels for ever ' ? Mat. 
XXV. 41. If thou canst not, ' Agree with thy adversary quickly, 
while thou art in the way with him ; lest at any time the adversary 
deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the 
officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee. 
Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the 
uttermost farthing,' Mat. v. 25, 26. 


The second suhject of consideration, Tlie felicity of the regenerate 

in this ivorld. 

Secondly, Consider the unspeakable felicity which thou mightst 
enjoy if thou wert one regenerated. Thy happiness would be far 
greater than my tongue can declare, or thine heart desire. Blessed- 
ness is so full a word that it comprehends all the good which the 
rational creature can wish ; and truly thou shouldst have it in its 
full weight. As before thou wast above all expressions cursed, so 
now thou shouldst be beyond all comparison blessed. Thy glean- 
ings should be better than the most prosperous wordling's vintage ; 
the worst estate that thou shouldst ever be in would be far more 
eligible than the best estate of the greatest emperor on earth that 
were unregenerate. 

Every blessing written in the book of God would be thy birth- 
right if thou wert born of God ; thou should be blessed with the 
blessings of the throne and of the footstool, with all things that 
belong to life and godliness, 2 Pet. i. 3. No evil should come to 
thee: ' There shall no evil happen to the just,' Prov. xii. 21. No 
good shall be kept from thee : ' The Lord shall give grace and 
glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk 
uprightly,' Ps. Ixxxiv. 11. If earth can make thee blessed, thou 
shouldst be blessed : ' Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit 
the earth,' Mat. v. 5. If heaven can make thee blessed, thou 
shouldst be blessed : ' Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is 
the kingdom of heaven,' Mat. v. 3. If all things could make thee 
blessed, thou shouldst be blessed : ' Whether Paul, or Apollos, or 
Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things 
to come ; all are yours ; and ye are Christ's ; and Christ is God's,' 
1 Cor. iii. 22, 23. 

Chap. XII.] by the key of regeneration. 145 

Keader, I shall do my utmost so to set forth the felicity of the 
regenerate (which no pen can fully) that thou may est admire it : — 
' How goodly are thy tents, Jacob, and thy tabernacles, Israel !' 
Num. XXV. 5 ; — and not only, as Balaam, desire their deaths — ' Let 
me die the death of the righteous, and let my latter end be like 
his,' Num. xxiii. 10 — but also endeavour to live their lives, and to 
have thy conversion l like theirs. 

While thou continuest in this world, thou shouldst be a blessed 
soul ; and when thou enterest into the other world, thou shouldst 
be a glorious saint. 

In this world thou shouldst be a blessed soul in every condition 
into which thou couldst come, in every relation in which thou dost 
stand, at all times and in all places whatsoever. 

All the providences of God should be profitable to thee. 

If God's hand were enlarged in mercy, thy heart should be en- 
larged in duty. If God should prosper thee in temporals, the 
streams of his bounty should lead thee (as the water-course, either 
upward to the spring, or downward to the ocean) to the source and 
fountain of all thy happiness. Thy heart would still be in heaven, 
where thy best things were, even then when thy body were busied 
among earthly good things, 1 Cor. vii, 29, 30 ; Phil. iii. 19. 

Some observe of the seed called henbane, that it killeth all birds 
save sparrows, and to them it is nourishing food ; and they give 
this reason, because their veins are so narrow that the fumes of the 
seeds cannot pass through them to their hearts. Truly thus it would 
be with thee, though thousands of others are poisoned with their 
worldly portions, because the fumes thereof penetrate into their 
vitals ; but if riches increase, thou shouldst not set thine heart 
upon them ; nay, thou shouldst get nourishment from them. As 
Jehoshaphat, the more honour and wealth thou hadst, the more thy 
heart would be lifted up in the ways of God, 2 Chron. xvii. 5, 6. 

If thine estate were but little, yet it would be perfumed with 
love ; and that lump of sugar in thy cup would make the liquor 
sweet, be it never so small. As the waters which flow from the 
hills of some of the islands of Molucca taste of the cinnamon and 
cloves which grow there, so should thy gift, though it were but 
water, taste of the good-will and special grace of the giver. Thy 
little, with the fear of the Lord, would be better than the riches of 
many wicked men, Ps. xxxvii. 16. As a little ring with a very 
costly diamond in it is far more worth than many great ones with- 
out it, so thy estate, though it were but a penny, should be joined 
^ Qu. ' conversation ' ? — Ed. 

VOL. V. K 


with the precious jewel of that love which is better than life, and 
enjoyed by special promise, and thereby be infinitely more worth 
than the thousands and millions of others, bestowed merely from 
common bounty, and enjoyed only by a general providence. 

If the black frost of adversity overtake thee, thou shouldst, as 
coneys, thrive the better ; thy soul being hale, thou wouldst become 
thereby the more healthy. By affliction thou shouldst be partaker 
of God's holiness, Heb. xii. 10. 

The water of affliction should wash out the dirt of thy corrup- 
tion ; and the more they increased they would raise thee, as the 
flood the ark, higher above the earth, and mount thee nearer to 
heaven. Torches burn the better for beating ; spices smell the 
sweeter for pounding ; vines bear the more for bleeding ; and the 
more thy soul were kept down by those weights, like the palm-tree, 
the more thou shouldst grow. That scouring and rubbing which 
fretteth others should make thee shine the brighter, Ps. xciv. 12. 
Divine corrections should make thee learn thy sacred lessons. 

It is said of the Lacedaemonians, that when all other people were 
undone by war, they only grew rich. Truly thus, when ungodly 
ones are the worse for outward miseries and wants, — like Ahaz, in 
their distress they sin more against the Lord, — thou shouldst thrive 
the better, grow the richer in grace and good works. The dimi- 
nution of thy temporal should be an addition to thy spiritual estate. 
Job xxxvi. 9, 10. As spring- water smoketh when other waters are 
dried up, because that is living and these are dead ; nay, it is 
observed, waters arising from deep springs are hotter in winter 
than in summer, the outward cold keeping in and doubling the 
inward heat ; so the waters of thy graces should not only continue, 
having a living principle, when the sun of calamity scorcheth and 
drieth up the dead ponds of unregenerate professors. Mat. xiii. 21, 
but also increase in spiritual heat. Job xvii. 8, 9 ; Phil. i. 14. 

If the devil assaulted thee with temptations, they should never 
be for thy perdition, but probation, Kev. ii. 20. The Captain of 
thy salvation would so strengthen thy soul with the shield of faith 
and sword of the Spirit that thou shouldst not only defend thy soul 
from all deadly wounds, but offend thine enemy, and be more than 
a conqueror over principalities and powers, through him that loveth 
thee. It would possibly be grievous and terrible to thee to be 
tempted ; but if God did not see it needful, he would not suffer it ; 
nay, if he could not make it useful, he would not send it : by those 
thorns of the flesh he would prick the vein, and let out the rank 
blood of thy spirit. It is said of Telephus that he had his impos- 

Chap. XII.] by the key of regenekation. 147 

tliume opened by the dart of an enemy wliicli intended his hurt. 
Truly, so Grod would make to thee the fiery darts of the devil, 
though they were intentionally mortal, to be eventually medicinal, 
1 John V. 18. The evil one should not touch thee, that is, with a 
mortal or deadly touch. As a sound tree shaken with the wind, 
thou shouldst not fall, but root thyself the faster ; thou shouldst, 
like Samson, fetch meat out of the eater, and out of the strong sweet- 
ness ; thou shouldst get honey even out of this roaring lion ; thy 
regeneration, like pollium, would be a special preservative against 
the poison of that crooked serpent. 

Nay, when thou shouldst fall into the evil of sin, even that should 
turn to thy good. God, — no thanks to thee, — like the skilful 
apothecary, would make wholesome treacle of such poisonous drugs. 
If thy corruption should at any time get the mastery, and break out 
in thy life, thou shouldst be so well purged by the physician of 
souls with the bitter aloes of repentance, that as those who have 
had ill-humours of their bodies getting head and breaking out in 
the small-pox, and do well, thou shouldst be the healthier in thy 
soul whilst thou livest. As a burnt child, thou shouldst ever dread 
that fire : thy broken bone, being once well set, would be stronger 
than before ; thou shouldst, after thy falls, walk more dependingly 
on Christ, more compassionately towards others, and more watch- 
fully over thine own heart. Compare 2 Sam. xi. 4, and xv., with 
1 Chron. xi. 18, 19 ; Mark xiv. 29, with John xxi. 15-17. 

Whatever thy condition were, it should tend to thine eternal 
consolation. Every wind that blew, whether the nipping north 
wind of adversity, or the cherishing south wind of prosperity, should 
neither of them wrong thee, for Christ would give them a charge 
concerning thee, as David his captains concerning Absalom, Do 
this young convert no harm, no discourtesy, but deal gently with 
him for my sake ; yea, they should both blow a blessing to thy 
soul. Though the providences of God might be sometimes painful 
to thine outward, yet they should be always profitable to thine 
inward man. Infinite love would send all, infinite wisdom would 
temper all, and infinite power would dispose all for thy benefit : 
the rod would ever be in the hand of a loving Father, and therefore 
never used to ruin or harm thee, but ever to reform and heal thee. 

As in the revolution of the heavens, every planet moveth in its 
proper orb, their motions are various, nay, opposite, yet by the 
wheeling round of the primum mobile, they are all brought about to 
one determinate point ; and as the wheels of a watch, though they 
move contrary ways, yet all serve to carry on the end of the work- 


man, to tell us the time of the day ; so though the providences 
and dealings of God be never so cross seemingly, yet they should 
all tend to thine advantage really and finally, and to carry on God's 
design, which is thy spiritual and eternal felicity. 

In a word, if afflictions did wait upon thee, if temptations watch 
against thee, if mercies did flow in, or by iniquity thou didst fall 
down, whether the days of thy pilgrimage were cloudy or clear, 
shining or showering, whatever weather thou travellest in towards 
thy Father's house ; all things should work together for thy good, 
if thou didst once love God, and wert called according to his pur- 
pose, Kom. viii. 28. 

As all God's providences should be profitable to thee, so also in 
all thy performances thou shouldst be acceptable to God. 

When thou shouldst approach the Lord of glory, he would give 
thee a meeting in the means of grace ; he would bid thee welcome 
into his presence, and warm thine heart with his spiritual in- 
fluences ; thou mightst hear him speaking to the solace and wonder 
of thy soul ! ' my dove, shew me thy face, let me hear thy voice ; 
for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely,' Cant. ii. 14. 
^ The Spirit of God would assist thee in all thy performances, en- 
abrri'ig thee to offer up to God what came first from God ; l and oh 
how eSiT^sdingly would the Father be taken with, and delight in, 
his own child ' The fruits of the Spirit would be pleasant fruits 
indeed Kom. viii. 26 ; Cant. iv. 16. Thou shouldst in every sacri- 
fice give God thine h?art, which he could not but take kindly at 
thy hands ; thy prayer would be his delight, Prov. xv. 8 ; thy 
sweet breath would abundantly please him ; no music could be so 
melodious to thee as thy prayers to him ; thou shouldst never ask 
anything but he would grant it, either in specie or pondere, in 
money or money- worth. The King of heaven is not he that could 
do anything against thee, as that earthly king said, Jer. xxxviii. 5, 
'Thy prayer should come before him like incense, and the lifting 
up of thine hands as morning and evening sacrifices, which his soul 
would smell a sweet savour in.' His eyes would be always open 
upon thy person with acceptance, and therefore his ears would be 
open to thy prayers with audience, Gen. iv. 4. 

Thou, like Esther, shouldst be arrayed in thy best raiment, the 
robes of thy Saviour's righteousness, and so appearing in the pres- 
ence of the King, shouldst find such favour in his eyes, that thy 
petition should be granted, and thy request performed, though it 
were to the half, to the whole, of his kingdom. 

^ Sozomen said of ApoUonius, that he never asked that thing of God which was 

Chap. XII.] by the key of regeneration. 149 

Thy duties should be performed with suitable graces. At a 
sacrament, or in a prayer, thou shouldst draw nigh to him by faith, 
Heb. X. 22. Know thy distance from him by godly fear, Heb. xii. 
28 ; be made one with him by love, Job xvii. 23 ; which would 
enlarge thy heart in desires after him, and ravish thy soul with 
delight in him, Ps. Ixxiii. 25 ; Job xxii. 26 ; and thou shouldst 
walk with him throughout the duty, with one foot of hope, and the 
other of humility. 

Thus graciously shouldst thou look up to him, and he would 
graciously look down upon thee ; little dost thou think what power- 
ful loadstones these graces would be to draw forth his love. Ob- 
serve and admire : ' Thou hast ravished i my heart, my sister, my 
spouse ; thou hast ravished mine heart with one of thine eyes, with 
one chain of thy neck. How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse ! 
how much better is thy love than wine ! and the smell of thine oint- 
ments than all spices!' Cant. iv. 9-11, to the end. 

Besides, all thy performances would be perfumed by the Media- 
tor. There would indeed still be imperfection in thy graces, which 
are poured by the Spirit into thy soul, as pure liquor into a foul 
vessel. Spring- waters, as they pass through the veins of the earth, 
will taste of the minerals which they there salute ; so would thy 
gracious actions have their faults and defects, because thou wouldst 
have still an unregenerate part ; therefore duties, as they came from 
thee, would not have a good savour, but Christ the angel would 
stand at the altar with sweet incense, intercepting thy sacrifices and 
prayers in their passage to heaven, purge away the iniquities of thy 
holy things with his own blood, perfume thy duties with his in- 
finite merits, and so present them to his Father in his own name 
without the least defilement ; and then, oh then, how pleasing and 
acceptable must they needs be to him ! Rev. viii. 3, 4, 

As when a servant is with a master upon liking, he doth his 
business so coldly and carelessly, and is so indifferent about it, that 
his master takes little notice either of him or his work, and all that 
time is lost. But when he is once bound, and the indentures sealed, 
and his father engaged for his faithfulness, the apprentice falls to 
his work with another manner of spirit ; and the master now esteems 
it as service, carrieth himself towards him as a master, resolves to 
teach him his trade, and his time every day goes on. So whilst a 
man is unregenerate, he serveth God so coldly, hypocritically, and 
carnally, that God accepts it not, nay, loathes it ; his performances 
they are as the cutting off of a dog's neck, or the offering up of 
1 Taken away my heart., or behearted me. — Hehr. 


swine's flesh, it is lost service ; but when indentures are sealed in 
regeneration, that the man is bound to God by a hearty dedication 
of himself to his service, and Christ hath given a considerable sum 
with him, and undertaken for his faithfulness, then the soul falls to 
God's business with hand and heart, and God esteems it as service, 
and resolves to teach him the trade of pleasing God on earth, that 
he may be fit to do it in heaven. 

All the ordinances of God should be for thy good. If thou wert 
but born again, and alive spiritually, thou shouldst find the word, 
prayer, singing, sacraments, Sabbaths, communion of saints, to be 
both refreshing and nourishing food to thy soul, though now thou 
canst relish them no more than the white of an egg, and receive no 
more good from them than from a dry chip ; then they would be 
as pipes to convey the water of life, to cheer and satisfy thy thirsty 
spirit. If thou wert a child weak in grace, ordinances would be 
milk to thee ; if a strong man, they would be strong meat ; though 
thy spiritual strength were never so small, thou shouldst find they 
would increase it. The Father of eternity would take care so to 
nurse and fee'd thee that thou shouldst thrive, 1 Pet. ii. 2. 

As the head doth by the organs of sinews or nerves convey the 
animal spirits into the whole body, and with, them both sense 
and motion, so thy head Christ Jesus would, by those organs of 
ordinances, convey spiritual life, sense and motion, to thee his 

Thou mightst hear the word with much spiritual hunger, and 
that being thy sauce, would make thee both fall to and relish thy 
food. When thou shouldst hear Christ speaking to thee, and open- 
ing the Scriptures, thine heart would burn within thee, and, as 
metal melted, be ready for any mould which God would cast thee 

The precepts of the word would be a light to thy feet, and a 
lantern to thy paths ; thou wouldst love them for their purity, find 
them to be exceeding pleasant, and turn thy feet into those ways of 
peace. Thine heart would in part answer God's holy law, as the 
counterpart the original deed ; and thou shouldst so behold the 
face of the Lord in the glass of his word, that thou shouldst be 
changed into his image from glory to glory, by the Sj)irit of the 
Lord, 2 Cor. iii. 18. 

The threatenings of the word, though they portend and speak 
dreadful things, as Nebuchadnezzar's dream, yet those fearful and 
faithful dreams would belong to thine enemies, and the interpreta- 
tion of them to them that hate thee. Those doleful threatenings 

Chap. XII.] by the key of regeneration. 151 

of God's wrath, the delivering up of souls to go on in sin, and the 
eternal torments of hell, like drones, will buzz about thine ears to 
keep thee wakeful, but could not sting thee to make thee woeful ; 
wert thou but alive in Christ, thou shouldst be dead to the law and 
all its curses, Kom. vii. 4. 

The promises would be precious also to thee, if thou wert con- 
verted ; thou wouldst have the mouth of faith, with which thou 
shouldst suck much warm heart-cheering milk from those breasts 
of consolation, Isa. Ixvi. 11. To thee the promises would be en- 
couragements to service ; the threatenings, aflfrightments from sin ; 
the precepts, directions to sanctity. If thy heart were sorrowful, 
the promises would enliven it ; if secure, the threatenings would 
awaken it ; if full of doubts, the precepts would counsel and advise 
it. Of the i^romises, more in the next head. 

At a sacrament Christ would sweetly feast thy soul, bring thee 
into his banqueting-house, and cause his banner over thee to be 
love ; when others feed only upon elements, thou shouldst feed on 
the sacrament, and find his flesh to be meat indeed, and his blood 
to be drink indeed ; when others stood at the door, and are put off 
with some poor scraps, as much as they came for, thou shouldst be 
called in, sit at his own table, feasted with the fat things of his own 
house, drink of the rivers of his own pleasures, continue under his 
shadow with great delight, and know his fruit sweet unto thy taste ; 
when thou sawest with the eye of faith the board spread, and richly 
furnished with variety of dainties, all the cordials and sweetmeats 
of the gospel, among the rest, with that love which is better than 
wine, thou shouldst hear a voice from the Spirit within thee, ' Eat, 
friend; drink abundantly, beloved;' which, how ravishing it 
would be to thine ears, and how refreshing to thine heart, no tongue 
can tell. reader, hadst thou ever found at a sacrament what it 
is to sup with Christ, and Christ with thee, thou would scorn the 
life of an emperor for the life of a new creature. 

In prayer, God and thy soul would sweetly converse together. 
Thy petitions would ascend up to him, and his right hand kind- 
nesses would descend on thee. In this duty thou wouldst call, 
turning his precepts into prayers, and he would answer by turning 
his promises into performances. Many, many a blessing shouldst 
thou obtain kneeling. This vessel would never return (though 
sometimes it might seem to tarry long) but richly laden. The 
crop of God's answer would be far greater than the seed of thy 
prayer out of which it grew. The prodigal desired but the liberty 
of a servant ; but the father bestowed on him the dignity of a son : 


' The king asked life, and thou gavest it him, yea, length of days 
for ever and ever. His glory is great in thy salvation ; honour and 
majesty hast thou put upon him,' Ps. xxi. 4, 5. As a merchant 
in a morning will get five hundred or a thousand pounds by a 
bargain, truly thou shouldst, by a duty in a morning or evening, 
get thousands, nay, millions, at a clap, increase of grace, a supply 
of thy spiritual wants, the subduing of thy secret wickedness, peace 
of conscience, communion with God, joy in the Spirit, which are 
more worth than the whole earth. 

In brief, Christ would be thy shepherd, feed thee in green pas- 
tures, lead thee by the still waters, and take care that thou be fat 
and flourishing. As the root sendeth up its sap through the bark 
to all its living branches, whereby they continue living and bring 
forth fruit, so if thou wert but regenerated, and a living branch, 
thou shouldst derive the sap of grace, through ordinances, from 
Christ thy root, whereby thou shouldst persevere in spiritual life, 
and glorify God by bringing forth much fruit. 

All the promises of God should be thy portion. 

Reader, thou art not able to conceive the unsearchable riches 
which are laid up in the promises. Well may the apostle call 
them ' exceeding great and precious promises,' 2 Pet. i. 4. The 
promises are the great charter, containing all the privileges which 
were purchased by Christ ; like an apothecary's shop, they are full 
of various salves for every sore, of precious remedies for every 
malady, of choice cordials to enliven thee with spiritual consolation 
in the saddest condition. One promise is of unspeakable worth. 
As every precious stone, so every individual promise hath its virtue 
and value. It is the saying of one, We had better want meat, 
drink, air, light, all the elements, than that one sweet sentence of 
our Saviour,! ' Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy 
laden, and I will give you rest,' Mat. xi. 28. Mr Burroughs saith 
that there is more of God in that one verse, John iii. 16, than in 
heaven and earth beside : ' God so loved the world that he gave 
his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life.' And Mr Baxter, in his Everlast- 
ing Best, I remember, hath an expression to this purpose, that he 
would not for all the world that that verse, John xvii. 24, had been 
left out of the Bible, ' Father, I will also, that they whom thou hast 
given me, be with me where I am ; that they may behold my 

One promise hath revived the saints when they have been almost 

^ Mallemus carere sale, coelo, &c.— Sdvccccr in Pwdag. Christian. 

Chap. XII.] by the key of eegeneration. 153 

dead with sorrow, and held their heads up, that they have not sunk 
in deep waters, Beza was refreshed by that, John x. 27-29 ; i Mr 
Bilney, that blessed martyr, by that, 1 Tim. i. 15 ; Father Latimer 
at the stake by that, 1 Cor. x. 13 ; Mr Kobert Bolton, that famous 
preacher and eminent saint, was comforted under a sad affliction 
by that, Isa. xxvi. 3. Now if one promise be so precious, how 
happy shouldst thou be, wert thou but regenerated, to have an 
interest in all the promises ! That whole book should be thine, 
wherein every leaf drops myrrh and mercy, love and life. Thou 
mightst walk in the garden, where those choice flowers, pleasant 
fruits, and sweet spices grow, and abundantly delight thy soul with 
their fragrant smell and luscious taste. ' The promise is to you, 
and to your children, and to them that are afar off, and to as many 
as the Lord our God shall call,' Acts ii. 39. Observe the silver 
thread upon which all the jewels of the promises hang, ' To as 
many as the Lord our God shall call.' When thou art called and 
born of him, all the promises would be thy portion. As all the 
rivers meet in the ocean, so all the promises meet in regeneration. 
I will name two or three promises, that thou mayest see how well it 
would be with thee wert thou once in Christ. All thy sins should 
be pardoned ; though they were never so great and grievous, yet 
the blood of Jesus Christ would cleanse thee from them. Didst 
thou but know what a great price was laid down to procure a 
pardon, Heb. ix. 22, 24, what dreadful punishments sinners undergo 
in hell for want of pardon, Jude 7, what sorrows and sighs, broken 
bones, and watered couches, the saints suffer, when they are but 
doubtful of their pardon, Ps. xxxviii. 1-4, thou wouldst say, ' 
blessed is the man whose iniquity is forgiven, and whose sin is 
covered ; blessed is he to whom the Lord imputeth not sin,' Ps. 
xxxii. 1 , 2. Now thou shouldst obtain this blessedness ; God would 
esteem thee perfectly righteous. Solinus reports of a river in 
Boeotia which maketh black sheep, if washed therein, white ; truly 
wert thou never so black a sinner, yet thou shouldst be made white 
by the blood of the Lamb, Eev. vii. 14. 

As all thy sins should be remitted, so thy person should be 
adopted. Thou shouldst of a child of wrath become the child of 
God, John i. 12. David reckoned it a great honour to be the son- 
in-law of king Saul. ' Seemeth it,' saith he to Saul's servant, ' a 
light thing to you to be a king's son-in-law, seeing that I am vile 
and lightly esteemed ? ' 1 Sam. xviii. 23. Oh what is it then to be 
the son of God, of the King of kings, and Lord of lords ! ' Behold 
^ Melch. Adamus in Vit. 


what manner of love hath the Father loved us with, that we should 
be called his children,' 1 John iii. 1. The greatest admiration is 
too little for such infinite condescension ; yet this privilege should 
be thine. The boundless God, who hath millions of glorious angels 
for his servants, would own, feed, clothe, protect, maintain, and 
portion thee as his son. 

Thou shouldst be sure to persevere in grace. Being once in 
Christ, thou shouldst be ever in Christ. Though the wind should 
blow, and the waves beat against thee, yet thou shouldst not fall, 
being built upon the true rock ; the very gates of hell should not 
prevail against thee. Though thou mightst fall foully, yet thou 
shouldst never fall finally, because the seed of Cod would remain 
within thee, 1 John iii. 9 ; Phil. i. 6 ; 1 Thes. v. 23, 24. Thy 
life would be hid in Christ, as the sap in the root ; and therefore 
thou mightst have thine autumn, yet thou shouldst spring again. 
Thy stock of grace would not be in thine own, but in Christ's 
hands, and for this cause thou couldst not possibly prove, as Adam, 
a bankrupt. Though the flame of a zealous profession might be 
abated, yet there would be fire on the hearth under the ashes, true 
grace in thine heart ; the love of God to thy soul would be ever- 
lasting love, Jer. xxxi. 3. The kindness of thy Eedeemer to 
thee, everlasting kindness, Isa. liv. 8. The Spirit of grace would 
abide in thee for ever, John xiv. 16. The covenant into which 
thou shouldst enter with God would be an everlasting covenant, 
Heb. xiii. 20 ; and in that very covenant thy Saviour would under- 
take for thee, that thou shouldst never depart away from him, but 
abide in him for ever, Jer. xxxi. 33, 34, and xxxii. 40. Christ 
himself would be ever in thee; and Christ, saith one, may as 
soon die in heaven at his Father's right hand, as in the heart of a 

To sum up all the promises in one, God would be thy God ; and 
how much wealth is in this golden mine would nonplus the tongues 
of all the men in the world to express, and the understandings of 
all the angels in heaven to conceive. This is the great new cove- 
nant promise, Heb. viii. 8-10, ' I will be to them a God, and they 
shall be to me a people.' The author of all promises is the matter 
of this promise. Surely it is the main, the ocean, a large promise 
indeed, when it contains him whom the heavens, and heaven of 
heavens, can never contain. The book of promises is as a glorious 
crown, but this is the most sparkling diamond in it. 

Friend, dost thou consider what it is to have God for thy God ? 
All that God is would be thine ; the Father thine, to adopt thee 

Chap. XII.] by the key of EEGENERATIO^^ 155 

for his own son ; the Son thine, to purify and present thee accept- 
able to the Father ; the Spirit thine, to dwell in thee as a witness, 
seal, and earnest of thine everlasting inheritance. All that is in 
God should be thine ; all his attributes and perfections should be 
laid out for thy profit ; his wisdom would be thine to direct thee, 
his power thine to protect thee, his grace thine to pardon thee, his 
mercy thine to pity thee, his goodness thine to comfort thee, and 
his glory thine to crown thee. Thou canst not imagine what a 
full good this God is in himself, and would be to thee. He would 
be to thee health in sickness, strength in weakness, light in dark- 
ness, joy in sadness, riches in poverty, honour in ignominy, freedom 
in slavery, ease in pain, safety in dangers, and life in death. This 
one God would supply all thy need, ' according to his riches in glory 
by Christ Jesus,' Phil. iv. 19. 

God would subdue thy corruptions, enable thee to overcome 
temptations, to be a gainer by afflictions, to hold out under deser- 
tions, to improve providences, to be the better for ordinances, to 
be filled with holiness, and fitted for happiness. He would do 
more for thee than thou couldst ask or think, Eph. iii. 20. Well 
might the jisalmist wonder at the riches of his portion, who had a 
propriety in God : Ps. cxliv. 15, ' Happy is the people, that is in 
such a case ; yea, happy is the people, whose God is the Lord.' 
Ainsworth reads these words by way of admiration, ' Oh happy is 
the people whose God is the Lord !' i As if the psalmist, consider- 
ing what he had said before, that it was a happiness to enjoy 
children, cattle, and outward comforts, did from those streams 
ascend to the fountain, and gathered by rational arguing, if they 
are happy that have their sons growing as plants, their daughters 
as polished stones, their barns swelling, and their flocks thriving, 
oh how happy are these whose God is the Lord ! If they are so 
blessed who have the stars, how happy are they that have the sun ! 
For in the presence of this sun all those stars must vanish and dis- 
appear. Mollerus takes the words by way of correction, Yea, 
rather, blessed is the people whose God is the Lord. As if David 
had recalled himself, and with his pen given a dash to all that he 
had said : Did I say that they were happy which abounded with 
relations, possessions, and outward comforts ? I recall myself. 
Alas ! they are not happy in comparison of their happiness who have 
the Lord for their God ; yea, rather, happy is the people whose 
God is the Lord. By this latter he cuts off the neck of his former 
expression. Some take the words conjunctively, as if David had 
^ Beatus ergo populus cujus Jehova est Deus.— Tremel. 


proclaimed them happy indeed for whom the Lord as their God 
doth SO liberally provide.^ The children must needs be happy that 
have a Father that takes such care of them, and bestoweth so many 
outward good things on them. Augustine takes the words disjunc- 
tively, as if the former part of the verse, ' Happy is the people that 
is in ease,' were the voice of the world ; and the latter part of it, 
' Yea, happy is the people whose God is the Lord,' were the voice 
of the saints. And that father explains himself to this purpose : 
vain and foolish speakers, strange children, they have called 
the people happy that are in such a case. But what sayest thou, 
David P What sayest thou, body of Christ ? What say ye, 
members of Christ ? What say ye, children of God ? Because 
those vain speakers and strange children have called them happy 
that are in such a case? What say ye ?' And then he answereth 
for them, as the voice of all, ' Happy is the people whose God is 
the Lord.' ^ 

Thus happy, reader, shouldst thou be, if thou wert once regene- 
rated. That God, in comparison of whom the whole creation is 
as nothing, would be thy God. Oh how eminently, how infinitely, 
shouldst thou be blessed, in having so rich, so vast, so boundless a 
good for thy God ! Thou shouldst be blessed in thy body, that 
should be the temple of the Holy Ghost, and part of the mystical 
body of the Son of God, and so nearly and closely united to him, 
that neither death, grave, nor dust, should ever be able to separate 
it from him, 1 Cor. vi. 19 ; 1 Thes. iv. 14, 16. 

Thou shouldst be blessed in thy soul, that should be ever fat 
and flourishing, Ps. xcii. 13, 14, like a watered garden abounding 
in fruit ; the smell of thy soul would be as the smell of a field 
which the Lord hath blessed. 

Thou shouldst be blessed in thy estate ; that blessing which can 
turn a prison into a palace, a cottage into a court, poverty into plenty, 
would be thy portion. Thou sliouldst be sure of necessaries, of 
enough to bear thy charges till thou comest to thy father's house, Ps. 
xxxvii. 25, 26, and xxxiv. 11. Having faith, thou shouldst not fear 
a famine, but wouldst be assured that he who feeds the birds of the 

^ Prffidicat populum beatum cui hsec bona a Deo contigerint, sed addit mox correc- 
tionein, ne quis ia his rebus terrenis subsisfcat, et summam beatitudinem ponat. — 
Mollcrus in loc. 

- vaniloqui, filii alieni ! Beatum dixerunt populum cui hsec sunt. Quid tu, 
David ? Quid tu, corpus Christi ? Quid vos, membra Christi? Quid vos, non filii 
alieni, sed Dei ? Quoniam vaniloqui filii alieni, beatum dixerunt populum, cui hrec 
sunt; vos quid dicitis ? Beatus populus cujus Dominus Deus ipsius. — Aug. in Ps. 
cxliii. torn. viii. 

Chap. XII.] by the key of kegeneration. 157 

air, fodders the beast of the fields, filleth the bellies of his enemies with 
hidden treasures, would never forget his friends, or starve his chil- 
dren. The Lord would be thy shepherd, and therefore thou couldst 
not want, Ps. xxiii. 1. As they that are well lined within, and have 
much good blood and spirits, can endure to go in cold weather 
with less clothes than others ; so thou being inwardly strengthened 
with the grace and love of God, shouldst be able to walk in the 
world comfortably with a less estate than others. If thou shouldst 
be thine own carver, thou wouldst cut thy fingers. 

If thy means were small, thy stomach should not be great. As 
the sheep can live upon bare commons, and thrive there, where 
the fat ox would be starved ; so in the midst of thy straits, thy con- 
tentedness would give thee a sufficiency, when others, who are 
strangers to grace, in the midst of their sufficiency are in straits. 
Job XX. 22. True piety hath true plenty, and is never without a 
well-contenting sufficiency, for it will give him who hath nothing 
the possession of all things, 1 Tim. vi. 6 ; Hab. iii. 16, 17 ; 2 Cor. vi. 
11. Thy dinner of herbs, with the love and favour of God, would 
be better than a stalled ox with his anger and frowns, Prov. xv. 
15, 16. 

Thou shouldst be blessed in thy children : ' The just man 
walketh in his integrity, and his children are blessed after him,' 
Prov. XX. 7. Jehu's children fared the better for their father's 
godliness, though it were but counterfeit, 2 Kings x. 30. Surely, 
then, the generation of the upright shall be blessed, Ps. cxii. 
2. When thou didst leave them, God would find them, and re- 
quite thy children for thy love to him, much more faithfully than 
David did Mephibosheth for Jonathan's good-will, Gen. xvii. 8 ; 
Acts ii. 39. 

Thy whole house would be the happier for thee : ' God blesseth 
the habitation of the righteous,' Prov. iii. 33. Nothing can pos- 
sibly be wanting, but it may be made up by thy blessing : ' If thou 
dost hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, blessed shalt thou 
be in the city, and in the field ; blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, 
and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle ; blessed 
shall be thy basket and thy store ; blessed shalt thou be when thou 
goest out, and blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in,' Deut. 
xxviii. 1-14. 

Thou wouldst be a blessing to thy neighbours ; as a conduit, 
yield clear water for others' comfort. If they were profane, they 
might be brought to mind piety by thy precepts and pattern. If 
they were good, they would rejoice at thy conversion to God, and, 


like Abraham, make a feast at the weaning of thee, a child of the 
promise, from the breasts of the creatures. 

Thou shoulclst be blessed in thy name : ' The memory of the just is 
blessed,' Prov. x. 7. Thy name would be heir to thy life ; as soon 
as ever thy nature were religious, thy name would be reverend ; 
and when thou diest thou wouldst go out of this world like some 
sweet perfume, leaving a fragrant savour behind thee. 

reader, how many sheets might I write in relating thy feli- 
city. How honourable shouldst thou be, having blood-royal run- 
ning in thy veins, and being heir-apparent to a kingdom of glory ! 
How rich, having a key to God's treasury, and being interested in 
the covenant of grace, which hath more wealth in it than heaven or 
earth ! How comfortable, having the promises for thy cordials, and 
being garrisoned with that peace of Grod which passeth all under- 
standing ! How beautiful, having the robe of the righteousness of 
God to adorn thee, which is infinitely more comely than the un- 
spotted innocency either of Adam or angels ! The infinite God 
would be thy God, blessed angels thy guardians, beautiful saints 
thy companions, durable riches thy portion, the flesh of Christ thy 
food, his own robes thy raiment, and his own mansion-house thine 
everlasting home. 

Thou couldst not cast an eye, but it would see matter of mirth ; 
nor send forth a thought, but it would return with a report of mercy. ^ 
Whether thou lookest up to thy Father in heaven, and his glorious 
attendants there, or lookest down to his creatures on earth, and 
the signs of his manifold wisdom and mighty power here, or 
whether thou lookest into conscience or Scriptures, everything, all 
things, would yield thee cause of comfort, and give thee occasion of 
inward exultation. 

In all conditions, be they never so sad, thy soul would be safe, 
and thine everlasting estate secure. The vails are uncertain, but the 
standing wages are certain. What ballast is to a ship, that rege- 
neration would be to thy spirit. If the vessel be sound and well 
ballasted, though it may be tossed and rocked with winds and 
waves, yet it shall not be ruined ; so, if thine heart were stablished 
with grace, thou shouldst be steady in the greatest storm; nay, 
though thou wert naked in deep waters, in the mighty sea, yet 
Christ, thine head, being ever above water, thou couldst not possibly 

When thou shouldst come to die, and to throw thy last cast for 
eternity, thou mightst walk in the valley of the shadow of death, and 
fear none ill, for God would be with thee, Ps. xxiii. When pale- 

Chap. XII.] by the key of kegeneration. 159 

faced death knocks at tlie door of thine house of clay, by the hand 
of some mortal sickness, thou needst not be daunted at his grim 
looks, but mightst boldly open to him, and bid that messenger 
heartily welcome, as knowing that he comes from a God in cove- 
nant, to give thee a passage into fulness of joy and everlasting 

It is reported of Godfrey, Duke of Bouillon, in his expedition to 
the Holy Land, that when his army came within view of Jerusalem, 
beholding the high turrets and fair fronts which were the skeletons 
of far more glorious bodies, they were so transported with joy that 
they gave such a shout that the very earth was said to ring again. 
How might thine heart leap with joy, when thou upon thy death- 
bed shouldst with the eye of faith behold the stately turrets and pearly 
gates of the new and eternal Jerusalem ! 

Thou mightst contentedly leave thine earthly habitation for thy 
Father's house, and joyfully bid adieu to thy corruptible silver and 
airy honours for an enduring substance and an eternal weight of 
glory. How cheerfully mightst thou forsake thy meat and drink, 
and all thy carnal comforts, to eat bread in the kingdom of heaven, 
and to bathe thy soul in angelical delights ! With what courage 
mightst thou bid farewell to thy stately dwelling, dearest wife, most 
lovely children, and all thy kindred and acquaintance, to go to 
' mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jeru- 
salem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general as- 
sembly and Church of the first-born which are written in heaven, 
and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made 
perfect, to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant,' Heb. xii. 22-24. 

Thou shouldst comfortably think of thy body's being laid in the 
grave, to sleep there till the morning of the resurrection ; for that 
bed would be sweet to thee, being perfumed with the precious body 
of thy Saviour for thee. And with what joy mightst thou think of 
the day of judgment, when thy body should be awakened out of its 
sleep, united to thy soul, fashioned like unto the glorious body of 
Christ, and both soul and body made perfectly blessed in the full 
enjoyment of God to all eternity ! Oh the felicity of the regenerate ! 
How blessed are they whom God chooseth, and causeth by regenera- 
tion to approach unto him ! Friend, friend, can the world do half 
this for thee ? Why, then, dost thou spend thy strength for what is 
not bread, and thy labour for what will not satisfy ? 

Will not God do all this and much more for thee ? Why then 
dost thou forsake the fountain of living waters, and hew unto thy- 
self broken cisterns that can hold no waters ? Ah, didst thou but 


know the gift of God, and wlio it is that offereth these things to 
thee, thou wouldst ask of hhn, and he would give thee living 
waters, John iv. 10. Eeader, what sayest thou to these things ? 
Is there not infinite reason why thou shouldst speedily give a bill 
of divorce to thy most beloved lusts, and strike a hearty covenant 
with the Lord Jesus ? Art not thou fully convinced of the match- 
less gain of godliness ? Let conscience speak. One would think 
such powerful arguments could not be denied — that so many and 
such costly loadstones should draw thee towards heaven, though 
thine heart were as hard as iron or steel. If thou art for profit, 
man, here is profit indeed, and to purpose. Thus, whilst thou con- 
tinuest in this world, thou shouldst be a blessed soul. 


The felicity of the regenerate in the other world. 

Though in what I have already offered, in the name of the 
blessed Grod, I have unspeakably outbid devil, world, and flesh, 
yet to manifest thy folly in making and continuing a league with 
them, to thine extreme and inconceivable disadvantage, I shall en- 
deavour to set before thee, though briefly, the far greater felicity 
which thou shouldst obtain in the other world. 

As whilst thou continuest in this world thou shouldst be a blessed 
soul, so when thou enterest into the other world thou shouldst be 
a glorious saint. 

And this, reader, is the best wine, which Christ keeps for his 
guests till the last, though how good it is none can tell but they 
that have tasted it. Truly, what Nazianzen said of Basil, I may 
say of this glorious saint. There wants nothing but his own tongue 
to commend him. The subject is large and weighty ; and sure I 
am that it would require the words, not only of a saint, but an 
angel, to do it according to its worth. I shall only give thee a 
say, briefly, of that which glorified saints enjoy fully. 

First, Thou shouldst know what perfection of holiness is. If 
thou wert but new born, this one thought would fill thy soul with 
marrow and fatness, and cause thy mouth to praise God with joy- 
ful lips. One drachm of holiness infinitely surpasseth, in the esteem 
of a saint, all the kingdoms and empires of this world. How much 
then is perfect holiness worth ! In heaven thou shouldst have it. 

Chap. XIII.] by the key of regeneration. 161 

'There thou shouldst be before the throne without fault, and serve 
him day and night in his temple,' Kev. xiv. 5. 

What price doth a saint set upon, and what pains doth he take 
for, a little holiness ! If thou wouldst know why he hideth the 
word in his heart, it is that he might not sin against God ; the 
purging out of sinful humours is the end for which he takes that 
physic. Why he readeth and heareth so diligently, it is that he 
might be sanctified through God's truth, cleansing is the reason 
why he useth that water. Why he prayeth so frequently and so 
fervently, it is that he might have a clean heart created, and a 
right spirit renewed within him. Grace is the chief alms for 
which he knocks and begs so hard, at the beautiful gate of God's 
temple ; why he goeth to the sacrament, it is that he might grow 
in sanctity ; he goeth to the death of his Saviour, for the death of 
his sins ; and his great design in that spiritual feast is to feed, that 
he might get some more spiritual strength. Nay, how contented can 
he be under very sad crosses, if they may but make him more like 
to Christ ! he can patiently bear the pain of lancing and cutting, 
so it may but let out corruption. He can take bitter pills for the 
removing of inward diseases, and the furthering of his soul's health, 
and more willingly spend all he hath for the cure of his issue of 
sin, than ever the woman did for the cure of her issue of blood. 
Now, reader, thou shouldst have the vessel of thy soul filled with 
this water of life, one drop of which is so precious, as thou hast 
heard, to the regenerate. Thou shouldst have a perfection of de- 
grees, as well as of parts, and enjoy so much of these true riches, 
that thou shouldst not desire one grain more. Thou shouldst be a 
book wherein the image of God should be written in a fair large 
print, and there should be no errata in thee. Sin now is like the 
ivy in the wall, cut it never so much, yet it will sprout out again ; 
but as grace mortifieth it here, glory shall nullify it in heaven. 
Wert thou in Christ, it would be no small comfort to think the 
time is coming when thou shalt never ofi'end God more, never deal 
unkindly with Christ more. 

Thou shouldst by blessed experience know the truth of those 
Scriptures : ' Whosoever is born of God sinneth not, for his seed 
remaineth in him ; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God,' 
1 John iii. 9. ' Christ loved his Church, and gave himself for 
it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water 
by the word. That he might present it to himself a glorious 
Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing ; but that 
it should be holy and without blemish,' Eph. v. 25-27. 

VOL. V. L 


The' body of death should die with the death of thy body. Thou 
shouldst not be taken away in thy sins, but from thy sins. It 
would be impossible for thee to sin there, because of thine happy 
sight of God there. Sin is an aversion from God, and conversion 
to the creature. Now thou shouldst enjoy such soul-ravishing 
sweetness in the blessed God, and that so fully, that thou couldst 
not leave so excellent a good for any creature ; thy graces, here in 
their minority and nonage, would be then in their maturity. 

If that holiness which is but in part on earth, would be so beauti- 
ful in thine eyes, that it would ravish thine heart more than all the 
glory of this world, what woidd perfect holiness in heaven be ? 

If the picture or image of God be so comely in its rough draft 
here below, ah, how lovely a piece will it be in all its perfections, 
when God's novissima manus, his last hand, shall come upon it 
above ! 1 John iii. 2. 

Secondly, Thou shouldst know what complete happiness is. Thine 
holiness and happiness, like twins, would grow up and come to 
their full age together ; thy perfect purity there would cause per- 
fect peace. Thy day of light and gladness in heaven could never 
be overcast with the smallest cloud, because sins, that are the 
vapours out of which they breed, could not ascend so high. Thy 
freedom from evil would be full, thy fruition of good would be full, 
and therefore thy felicity must needs be full. Thy body there 
would be free from the diseases and deformity to which it is liable, 
and with which it is affected here. The errors of the first would be 
corrected in its second edition. A body of vileness shall be a body 
of glory. 

All those miseries which fright and molest thee now would 
then forsake thee. No evil durst arrest thee, when thou shalt 
walk in the presence of Zion's King. In this thou shouldst be like 
irrational creatures, that thy misery should end with thy life ; and 
in this resemble the blessed angels, that thou shouldst always be- 
hold the face of thy Father. 

In his presence is fulness of joy. When the sun beholdeth the 
moon with his full aspect, then the moon is at the full. In heaven 
the Sun of righteousness would ever look upon thee with his 
favourable face, in so full a degree, that thou shouldst be at the 
full of thy light and happiness. God is an universal good ; the soul 
of man hath a kind of infinite appetite. It desireth this pleasure 
■ and that treasure, and when it hath them, it is like a dropsical 
body, as thirsty as ever ; for those creatures, having but a particular 
limited goodness, can never satisfy ; but God will supply all the 

Chap. XIII.] by the key of regenekation. 163 

soul's wants, because lie is an infinite and universal good, and 
answereth all things. 

Thou shouldst ever be at the well-head ; and therefore needest 
not fear the least want. Thine appetite there would be ever fresh 
after Grod, and thy satisfaction ever full in God. God would be to 
thee anything, everything, all things which thy heart could possibly 
desire. God is so sweet and satisfying a good to his people on 
earth, that they have found the loss of other things abundantly 
made up in his favour and love, Hab. iii. 16, 17; 1 Sam. xxx. 6, 
though he communicated himself but in small drops, by slow de- 
grees unto them. Oh, then, what would God be to thee in heaven, 
when he would give himself abundantly and continually unto thy 
soul ! If all the delightful objects and pleasures which the whole 
creation here below affordeth were united into one and bestowed 
upon thee, and thou wert to live a thousand years in the enjoyment 
of it, this were not worth one day in God's courts in this world ; 
much less an hour, or one moment's enjoying him in the other 
world. ' In his presence is fulness of joy, and at his right hand 
are pleasures for evermore,' Ps. xvi. 11. Though all words are 
too weak to utter the saint's happiness there, yet David speaks 
much in this verse. For quality there is joy, there is pleasure. 
What canst thou wish which is not contained in those two words ? 
Hope of future joy made the man of sorrows contented under his 
shameful and bloody cross ; how comfortable wilt thou be when 
thou shalt have it in hand. 

For quantity, /2(??ie.s.s of joy, or a torrent, of which thou shouldst 
drink full draughts without interruption or intermission. Thy joy 
would be pure without mixture, and perfect without measure. The 
Master's joy, or the joy of thy Lord: in his presence; the fruition 
of God is the fairest flower in the garland of honour, and that alone 
which gives complete satisfaction to the soul : he is the heaven of 
heaven, and other things are but accessory to this principal; yet 
other things there would afford comfort, through the God of con- 

The sights there would please thine eyes ; for thou shouldst be- 
hold not only perfect saints, but the peerless Saviour ; thine eyes 
should see the King in his glory : there is a great difference be- 
tween seeing a king in his ordinary attire, and on his throne with 
his robes and all his signs of majesty. The sight of the saints 
would much delight thee, to see those heirs in the possession of 
their inheritances. When Cyneas, the ambassador of Pyrrhus, had 
beheld the state and magnificence of the Eoman senators and 


people, he was so exceedingly taken with it, that at his return from 
that city of Kome, being asked how he liked it, and what he 
thought of that state, he answered, that he saw as many emperors 
as senators, and that it was a commonwealth of kings. Such would 
heaven be to thine eyes, — a commonwealth of emperors and kings, 
wherein every saint would have a robe of honour, a sceptre of 
power, a throne of majesty, and crown of glory. Surely, such sights 
would fill thee with wonder and joy, to behold all the children 
in their Father's house so richly clad, so daintily feasted, and so 
highly advanced as they shall be there. But oh the joy which will 
possess thee at the sight of the Lord Jesus, who, as the Sun, will 
shine gloriously indeed in the midst of those stars ; and as a judge, 
be known by his robes from all the justices on the bench. If it 
were so good to behold him here in his estate of humiliation, and 
in his mourning weeds, what will it be to behold him in his estate 
of exaltation, and in his bright, sparkling, and glorious robes? 
Truly, that light will be sweet, and it will be pleasant to behold 
that Sun, 

As the sights there would please thine eyes, so the sounds there 
will please thine ears. I have read of a divine, that when he heard 
rare music on earth, he was much taken with it, presently cried 
out. Oh, the ravishing music which is in heaven ! How will thy 
spirit be taken when thou shalt hear the new song, the song of 
the Lamb, sung by the pleasant voices, and played upon the harps 
of the thousand thousands that are before the throne of God, who 
rest not day nor night, but say and sing, ' Holy, holy, holy, Lord 
God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come ! Thou art 
worthy, Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power : for thou 
hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were 
created,' Eev. iv. 8, IL 

how much might I expatiate here, and show thee that what- 
ever is requisite to happiness would be enjoyed by thee there ! If 
honour could make thee happy, thou shouldst there have an eter- 
nal weight of glory, such a weight, that if thou wert not upheld by 
the power of God, would press thee down. If pleasures can make 
thee happy, thou shouldst drink of the rivers of pleasures which 
flow from the blessed God for ever : such pleasures as thine eyes 
never saw, thine ears never heard, and thine heart can never con- 
ceive. If a gallant glorious feast could make thee happy, thou 
shouldst be happy ; thou shouldst dwell in a city whose builder 
and maker is God, its gates are of pearl, and its pavement of pure 
gold, Rev. xxi. 19, 20. The house which thou shouldst live in, is 

Chap. XIII.] by the key of regeneration. 165 

the Fatlier's house, that house which the mighty possessor of hea- 
ven and earth hath erected with his own hands, to be the place 
wherein he wiU shew all his riches, magnificence, grace, goodness, 
and glory. If rest could make thee happy, thou shouldst rest 
from all thy labours, enjoy an eternal sabbath: there the spiritual 
oppressors cease from troubling, there the weary are at rest. If 
good company could make thee happy, thou shouldst have the 
society of all the saints, sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 
the prophets, apostles, and all the children of Grod in the kingdom 
of heaven ; thou shouldst enjoy the many millions of holy angels, 
the dearest Jesus, and the ever blessed God. If food can make 
thee happy, thou shouldst eat of the hidden manna, of the bread 
which came down from heaven, of the tree of life, which groweth 
in Paradise, and drink of the water of life, which is clear as crystal, 
proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. If life can 
make thee happy, thou shouldst have that eternal life which is 
from God, in God, and with God. In a word, whatever were need- 
ful for thee, or could be joyful to thee, or desired by thee, in order 
to thy happiness, thou shouldst have it. 

Thirdly, thou shouldst know the virtue and preciousness of the 
blood of Christ : the apostle doth not without cause, when he com- 
pares the blood of Christ with silver and gold, infinitely prefer it 
before them, and call it precious blood, 1 Pet. i. 19. Indeed, it is 
that which is the diamond to the ring, addeth worth and value to 
whatever it is joined to. The two testaments are precious, because 
they are both sprinkled with the blood, and confirmed by the death 
of the testator, Heb. ix. 16-19. The Lord's Supper is precious, 
because it sheweth forth the Lord's blood and death, 1 Cor. xi. 26, 
Pardon of sin, peace of conscience, the affection of the Father, the 
sanctification of the Spirit, are all precious, because they are the 
fruits and effects of this precious blood, 1 John i. 7 ; Eom. v. 1 ; 
Heb. ix. 14 ; Eph. ii. 13. All our comforts run in this channel ; 
the blood of Christ is the stream which bears them up, and brings 
them to us ; yea, heaven itself, and the crown of glory, have weight 
and worth from this sparkling stone. Heaven is a purchased pos- 
session, Eph. i. 14. It is the blood of Jesus which giveth boldness 
to enter into that holy place, Heb. x. 19. The precious price paid 
for it, will speak it, and make it, a glorious place. 

If thou wert once regenerated, Christ would be so precious to 
thee at this day, that all things would be dung and dross in com- 
parison of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus thy 
Lord : ' to them that believe, Christ is precious,' 1 Pet. ii. 7. Oh the 


price which true Christians set upon Christ ! The wise merchant 
sold all for this pearl. I have read that the Duke of Burgundy- 
had a jewel which was afterwards sold for twenty thousand 
ducats. But Christ to a saint is hetter than silver, and more de- 
sirable than choice gold, — more precious than rubies, yea, than 
millions of worlds. 

When the Athenian ladies were boasting to Phocion's wife of 
their jewels, she told them. My jewels are my husband Phocion. 
When Alexander was asked where his treasure was, he shewed 
them his friends. Such a treasure is Jesus Christ in the esteem of 
his spouse, his friends ; Christ is all in all. 

The pious soul is of the same mind with John of Alexandria, 
surnamed the Almoner ; when at the year's end he had given all he 
had left to the poor, and made even with his revenues, he looks up 
to heaven, and thanked God that he had nothing left but his Lord 
and Master Jesus Christ, to whom he longed to fly with unlimed 
and untangled wings. The face of none is so comely to the saint's 
eye, the voice of none is so lovely to his ears, the taste of nothing so 
pleasant in his mouth, as Jesus Christ. 

But the Christian hath a choice room in his soul for the blood of 
his Saviour: he prizeth the shameful cross of Christ above the 
most glorious crown of the greatest earthly potentate, Gal. vi. 14. 
Thus, friend, it would be with thee here, if thou wert converted, 
thou wouldst determine to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him 
crucified. Oh the honey which thou wouldst suck out of the carcase, 
the death of this Lion of the tribe of Judah ! 

When thou shouldst consider that this blood of Jesus Christ is 
that alone which hath satisfied God's justice, Rom. iii. 25, and v. 
9 ; pacified his anger, Col. i. 20 ; Heb. ix. 14 ; Eev. i. 5, 6 ; justi- 
fied thy person, sanctified thy nature, removed the curse of the law 
from thee, and thee from the eternal wrath of God, and unquench- 
able torments of hell, would it not be precious blood in thine es- 
teem ? Think of it, what a price thou wouldst set upon it. But when 
thou shouldst for ever behold the blessed body of Christ shining 
with incomprehensible beauty, far above the brightest cherub ; and 
consider that every vein in that body bled to bring thee to glory ; 
when thou shouldst see thousands and millions in matchless and 
endless burnings, from which thou wert delivered, and behold thy 
body made far more glorious than the sun in his high noon attire, 
and thy soul filled brimful with unspeakable joy ; nay, every part 
of thy body and soul enlarged to the utmost, and fully satisfied 
with inconceivable delight, and thou shouldst be confident and as- 

Chap. XIII.] by the key of kegeneration. 167 

surecl to enjoy this for ever, and know clearly all this to be the tra- 
vail of Christ's soul, and the fruit of his blood : friend, friend, what 
thoughts wilt thou have of the blood of Christ ? Surely, it will be 
precious blood indeed ; thou wouldst have other manner of thoughts 
of him that came by water and blood than thou ever hadst here 

The work of our redemption will be the matter of the saints' 
communion, and the great subject of their eternal admiration. 
Their delivery from sin, Satan, wrath, and hell, into a state of 
liberty, love, grace, and salvation, by the blood of Jesus, will fill 
their eyes and hearts with wonder, love, and joy for ever. 

All the voices there shall sing this song, and all the viols there 
shall be set to this tune : ' Thou art worthy to take the book, and 
to open the seals thereof; for thou hast redeemed us to God by thy 
blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and nation, and hast made 
us unto our God kings and priests. And I beheld, and I heard the 
voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and 
the elders ; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten 
thousand, and thousands of thousands ; saying with a loud voice. 
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, 
and wisdom, and glory, and blessing,' Kev. v. 9-12. 

If the queen of Sheba, when she beheld the wisdom and mag- 
nificence of Solomon, was so transported that there remained no 
more spirit in her, how will thine heart be transported to see the 
love and glory of the true Solomon, who wept, and bled, and lived, 
and died to bring thee to heaven ! 

Fourthly, Thou shouldst know what God is ; and truly this would 
be no small part of thy felicity. Knowledge is the excellency of a 
man, and dififerenceth him from a brute. Divine knowledge is the 
excellency of a Christian, and dififerenceth him from a heathen. 
The knowledge of human things hath been so highly esteemed by 
some of the heathen that they have professed they would give their 
whole estates to enjoy their books without interruption. What 
then is the knowledge of divine things worth ? Aristotle saith 
that a little knowledge of heavenly things, though but conjectural, 
is better than much certain knowledge of earthly things: what 
then is the knowledge of the God of heaven worth ? The excel- 
lency of the object doth much dignify the act. 

In this world thou canst see but a little of him, thy sight is so 
weak ; but there thou shouldst see him as he is, 1 John iii. 3. Now 
the Christian rather seeth and knoweth God as he is not than as he 
is : we describe him (for indeed he is infinitely above all definitions) 


by way of negation, to be a spirit, infinite, unchangeable, and the 
like, which particulars tell us what Grod is not. He is a spirit, 
that is, a being without a body ; for God is not a spirit as the souls 
of men and as angels are ; I mean, not of such a substance. The 
Spirit of God in that expression, ' God is a spirit,' John iv., con- 
descendeth to our capacities, because we are not able to conceive 
of the nature of the blessed God as he is in himself : therefore the 
Holy Ghost doth speak of God by the most excellent beings which 
our understandings reach, as spirits are ; for God is questionless 
such a spiritual being as is far above the most enlarged understand- 
ing. Besides, we are so clogged and pinioned with flesh that we 
know but little, yea, very little, of our own spirits, much less what 
a spirit God is. But there thou shouldst, if converted, know him 
fully, thy understanding should be enlarged and satisfied. 

Those scales which now hang about thine intellectual eye should 
then fall off, and thou that didst behold him upon earth in the glass 
of his gospel, shouldst then see him face to face ; as the sun doth 
by his beams and brightness so enlighten the eye and air that we 
see thereby not only other creatures, but its own most glorious body ; 
so God would, by the beams and beauty of his majesty, so irradiate 
thy mind, that thou shouldst see both the comeliness of his creatures 
and the brightness of his own being. 

Thou shouldst know the great mystery of the Trinity, the love 
of the Father, tlie wisdom of the Son, the sweet fellowship of the 
Holy Ghost. That riddle which now puzzleth thee should there 
be unfolded ; thou shouldst know how the Father begat the Son, 
how the Spirit proceeded from Father and Son, and the difference 
between the generation of the Son and procession of the Spirit. 

Thou shouldst know God in the unity of his nature. Now the 
saints know him most by his attributes, which indeed differ not all 
from his being ; they are but different manifestations of one undi- 
vided essence, and distinguished by us for our better understanding 
of the divine nature ; but they are all the same in him and in them- 
selves, and then we shall know so. 

Thou shouldst know the hypostatical union, John xiv. 20 ; how 
the Son of God became the Son of man ; that wonder of wonders, 
Emmanuel, God with us, God and man in one person, would be 
clearly seen ; all those knots would be untied ; thou shouldst then 
plough with God's heifers, and understand all his riddles; thou 
shouldst know all things in God that were to be known, in a full 
manner, in a large measure, to thine infinite comfort and content. 
Thou shouldst know all this, and far more, for thy good. 

Chap. XIII.] by the key of regeneration. 169 

If a little knowledge of God here be so pleasant to the soul, 
though it be but a glimpse of him in the dawning of the morning, 
what satisfaction will the complete knowledge of him yield, to see 
that sun at noonday ! Ps. xix. 10. If it be life eternal to know 
God and Jesus Christ imperfectly, what will it be to know them 
perfectly, and so as to enjoy them fully ? Surely such instruction 
will be better than silver, and such knowledge than choice gold ; 
this wisdom is better than rubies, and all that thou canst desire is 
not to be compared to it. 

How much have many wasted their wealth, dried their brains, 
lacerated their bodies, for a little knowledge of nature, which, when 
they had gone to their utmost, could not satisfy them ? They 
might as soon have broke their necks as their fasts by such know- 
ledge. But of what inestimable value is the knowledge of the God 
of nature, is the knowledge of him in Christ here ? and oh, of what 
incomparable worth will it be to know of him as we are known of him, 
to see him face to face ? This will be without question the beatifical 

Fifthly, Thou shouldst know the extent and truth of all the pro- 
mises in the word, which concern thy welfare in the other world. 
How various and how precious are the promises which relate to 
heaven ! God promiseth his children, such as are born of him, 
large portions when they shall come to age, unto the measure of 
the stature of the fulness of Christ ; and thou shouldst then find 
that God will make good his word to a tittle. He promiseth that 
' they shall rest from their labours, and their works shall follow them'; 
that they shall be ' before the throne, and serve him day and night 
in his temple, and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among 
them ; that they shall hunger no more, nor thirst any more, neither 
shall the sun light on them, nor any heat ; for the Lamb, which is 
in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them 
unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears 
from their eyes,' Kev. vii. 3-17. He promiseth that ' they shall 
be with Christ where he is, and behold his glory,' John xvii. 24. 
That they shall be clothed in white raiment, and not blotted out 
of the book of life, but confessed before the Father and the holy 
angels, Kev. ii. 7, 11, and iii. 5. Christ promiseth, 'Him that 
overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he 
shall go no more out ; and I will write upon him the name of my 
God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jeru- 
salem ; and I will write upon him my new name,' Eev. iii. 12. 
That they which ' overcome shall sit down with him on his throne, 


even as lie hath overcome, and is set down with his Father on his 
throne,' Rev. iii. 21 ; look Ps. xvi. 11, and xvii. 15 ; Rom. viii. 18 ; 
2 Cor. V. 1 ; 1 Cor. xiii. 12 ; Mat. xviii. 11 ; 1 Pet. i. 4 ; Phil. iii. 
21 ; 1 Thes. iv. 2, 18 ; 1 John iii. 2 ; Eph. v. 25, 26. 

All these promises, and many more, shall be fully accomplished. 
There shall not one good thing of all that the Lord hath spoken 
be unfulfilled. The expectation of the promises hath filled several 
of God's children with ecstacies and ravishments of spirit ; what 
joy then will tlie possession of them bring ? The very thought of 
a promise hath made them, like Leviathan, to laugh at the shaking 
of spears, at the threatening of their adversaries, nay, to kiss stakes, 
and smile at fire and faggots. Oh then what will the performance 
be ? The promises are large, but our straitened minds cannot 
understand their breadth ; but then happy experience shall teach 
us their full latitude ; they are now like bones which have the 
sweetest meat upon them, and the sweetest marrow in them ; but 
we are not able here to pick them clean, nor to suck out half the 
marrow ; but then we shall taste and enjoy everything in them. 
Now when we read of drinking of the rivers of God's pleasures, of 
dwelling in his house, of a kingdom, and thrones, and sceptres, and 
palms, and crowns of glory, and reigning with Christ for ever and 
ever, our hearts are ready to faint, as Jacob at the news of his son's 
honour in Egypt, and as the queen of Sheba at the news of Solo- 
mon's wisdom, believed it not, so we. What, God look upon such 
sinks of sin, such clods of clay as we are, and make our vile bodies 
like unto the glorious body of his Son, and our souls like unto his 
blessed majesty, in holiness, beauty, and delight! Oh what are 
we, and what our father's houses, that God should do anything for 
us ? As Perillus, when Alexander promised his daughter fifty 
talents for her portion, crieth, it was too much, ten were sufficient; 
and when David sent to take Abigail to wife, she wondered at it, 
she counted it an honour to wash the feet of his servants, it was 
too much to be his wife ; so we cannot but count it a favour to 
wait upon his servants, to be his doorkeepers, and stand without ; 
it is too much, we think, to be married to Christ, the eternal Son of 
God, and to dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. We can 
hardly be persuaded that God will thus dignify such worthless 
worms ; but then seeing and enjoying will be believing. Then we 
shall say, it was a true report which I heard in the lower world what 
God would do for poor creatures in heaven ; howbeit I believed not 
till I came, and mine eyes have seen it, and behold the half was not 
told me ; my glory and joy exceedeth the fame which I heard. 

Chap. XIII.] by the key of kegeneeation. 171 

Sixthly, Thou shouldst enjoy all the forementionecl good things, 
and more than I can speak or thou think, without intermission, 
interruption, and for ever. The good things of this life are inter- 
mitted, partly by contrary and evil things, as our health lost by 
sickness, our wealth by want ; partly by necessary diversions : the 
body must have sleep, and then we lose the comfort of the crea- 
tures : but there thy day of comfort should never be overcast, for 
all tears will be wiped from "thine eyes, and thy fruition of God 
should be without intermission; thou shouldst ever stand in his 
presence and behold his face ; thou shouldst ever be with the Lord, 
1 Thes. iv. 16. Hadst thou here a confluence of all comforts, yet, 
because thy life is short, thy joy could not be long ; but there thy 
life will be an everlasting life, and thy joy therefore everlasting joy. 
' I will see you again, and your hearts shall rejoice, and your joy 
shall no man take from you,' saith Christ, John xvi. 

Eternity will perfect thy felicity indeed. It is a boundless dura- 
tion, without intermission and end. Suppose that all the vast 
space between heaven and earth were filled with sand, and once 
every ten thousand years a bird came and carried away a crumb in 
her bill, what a long while it would be before this vast heap would 
be carried quite away. But suppose after the bird had done that, 
it was to come every ten thousand years, and take one drop of water 
out of the sea, what a while would it be before it could empty the 
ocean ! But after all this thou shouldst have as long to continue 
in thy joy and delights, as at thy first entering into heaven. 

If thou shouldst have but one glimpse of God as he was passing 
by thee, as Moses had, it were a happiness beyond all that this 
world can give thee ; but thou shalt there not have a transient view, 
but a permanent vision of God. Thy God would not pass by, but 
stand still, that thou shouldst never lose the sight of him. When 
the object would be so lovely, and the act so lasting, would not thy 
spirit be cheerful and lively ? As the damned shall be without all 
hope ever to be released of their pains, so thou shouldst be without 
all fear ever to be deprived of thy pleasures. Oh who would not 
serve such a Master, that giveth, after poor imperfect works done 
for him, such infinite eternal rewards? It is bottomless love in- 
deed which giveth such a boundless life. 

Thus, reader, I have given thee a taste of that of which thou, 
if regenerated, should have a full draught. Whilst thou continuest 
in this world, thou shouldst be a blessed soul — blessed in thy body, 
in thy soul, in thy calling, estate, relations, children, and name. 
All the providences of God should be profitable to thee ; in all thy 


performances tliou shouldst be acceptable to God, and all the ordi- 
nances of God should further thy good ; the precious promises — 
one of which excels the whole world — should all be thy portion. 
When thou enterest into the other world, thou shouldst be 
a glorious saint; thou shouldst be perfectly holy and infinitely 
happy in the knowledge of the blessed God, in finding the in- 
comparable fruits of Christ's blood, and in experiencing the ex- 
tent and certainty of God's promises ; and thou shouldst enjoy 
all this, not for a year, or an age, or for a millon of ages, but 
for ever, ever, ever. Now what say est thou to this subject of 
consideration ? Hast thou not unspeakable cause, by an hearty 
marriage, to close with the Son of God, and accept him for 
thy Lord and husband, when he ofifereth such matchless privileges 
here, and such a heavenly jointure hereafter ? Good Lord, is it 
possible for man to be such an enemy to his soul as to neglect such 
great salvation ? What a hard stone is the heart of man, that 
neither misery nor mercy can move it. Ah friend, thou art be- 
witched indeed, if neither the wonderful woe of the unregenerate, 
nor the unheard-of weal of the regenerate, can prevail with thee. 

But before thou readest farther, make a pause, and consider what 
is included in these two subjects of consideration. The heathen 
tell us that such as cannot be persuaded by profit or disprofit are 
unpersuadable. Think of it : here is the greatest advantage ima- 
ginable, if thou wilt turn to Christ ; here is the greatest damage 
conceivable, if thou continuest in thine ungodly course. Surely thou 
art resolved upon thine eternal ruin, or such reasons as these are 
will reform thee. 

Ponder this seriously. If thou refusest the Lord Jesus as thy 
Saviour and Sovereign, thou art a cursed, damned sinner ; if thou 
acceptest him, thou art a blessed, saved creature. In the one scale 
there is hell, in the other scale there is heaven ; upon the turning 
of either is the turning of thy precious soul, its making or marring 
for ever. If thou wilt not embrace Christ upon his own con- 
ditions, thy soul is lost. Oh the loss of a soul ! Thy God, thy 
heaven is lost. Oh the loss of a God ! No eye ever saw greater 
losses ; all other losses are nothing to these. If thou dost, thy 
soul is saved. How sweet is that word, saved! Thy God, thy 
heaven is gained. the gain of a God ! How savoury is that 
sentence ! Eead it again. If thou takest Christ, thy God is gained. 
Dost thou know what is included in the gain of a God ? No, nor 
all the men on earth, nor all the saints and angels in heaven. 
There never was such a gain before it, nor ever shall be after it. 

Chap. XIII.] by the key of regenekation. 173 

Ah, who would not wade through thick and thin for such a gain ? 
What sayest thou ? Shall not things of such concernment as these 
are stir thee ? 

It is reported of Adrianus/ an officer under Maximianus the 
tyrant/that, beholding the constancy of the martyrs, he was earnest to 
know what it was which carried them through with so much courage. 
One of them — there being two and twenty at that time under the 
tormentor's hands — answered, ' Eye hath not seen, ear hath not 
heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive 
what God hath prepared for them that love him,'] Cor. ii. 9 ; upon 
the hearing of which words Adrian was converted, and sealed the 
truth with his blood. Thou hast heard much more concerning the 
happiness of the saints in the other world than one verse of Scrip- 
ture. How art thou taken with it ? Doth the joy there nothing 
affect thine heart, nor enlarge it in sallies out after it. that joy, 
that glory, that house, that eternal heaven were mine ! Doth it no- 
thing resolve thee against sin, and for Christ ? Answer God in 
thy conscience. 

Some write that forty-one of Alexander's friends drunk them- 
selves dead for a crown of gold of one hundred and eighty pounds 
weight, which the king provided for them which drank most. God 
ofFereth thee a crown of glory, not corruptible, as silver and gold 
are, but eternal. Art thou not ashamed that those swaggerers should 
cursedly lose their lives and souls for a fading crown, when thou wilt 
not leave thy lusts, thy sins, for an ever-flourishing crown of glory ? 

man, bethink thyself whilst thou hast time, and do not, as 
profane Esau, prefer thy mess of pottage before these spiritual privi- 
leges and the eternal purchase. Cleopatra, the Egyptian princess, 
told Marcus Antonius, when she saw him spending his time vainly 
and meanly, much below the quality of a prince, It is not for you 
to fish for gudgeons or trouts, but for towns, and cities, and castles, 
and kingdoms. So say I to thee, It is not for thee to lie spending 
thy time and strength, and beating thine head and heart, for an 
hoard of dust or an heap of earth, which shall shortly take its leave 
of thee, but for the spiritual riches, for durable riches and right- 
eousness. It is not for thee to busy thyself about toys and trifles, 
but about the image of God, the blood of Christ, the covenant of 
grace, the kingdom of heaven, the eternal weight of glory. Oh 
these are worthy of all thoughts, and words, and actions, of all thy 
time, and strength, and health — of all thy name and estate, and 
interest whatsoever. 

^ Laurent. Sur. in vit. 

174 "the door of salvation opened [Chap. XIV. 

If tliou art a rational creature, let reason prevail with thee, and 
shew thyself a man of understanding. It was the custom formerly 
in England to try one that was begged for a fool, in this manner : i 
An apple or a counter, with a piece of gold, was set before him. 
If he take the apple or the counter, he is cast for a fool in the 
judgment of the court, as one that knoweth not the true value of 
things, or how to make choice of what was best for him. Truly 
thus it is with thee. God setteth before thee the counters and carnal 
comforts of this world, the true gold and unutterable happiness of 
the other world ; nay, he layeth before thee tbe eternal pains of hell, 
and the eternal pleasures of heaven, to try which thou wilt take. 
Now, if thou wilt take a poor portion below, and leave the pur- 
chased possession above ; if thou wilt, to abide in thy sensual lusts, 
choose the torments of hell, and refuse, by not submitting to the 
rule of Christ, the joys of heaven, art thou not a fool in grain? 
Surely the devil will beg thee for a fool for ever ; therefore shew 
thyself wise, by choosing that which is of greatest worth. ' I call 
heaven and earth to record this day against thee, that I have set 
before thee life and death, blessing and cursing ; therefore choose 
life, that both thou and thy seed may live,' Deut. xxx. 19. 


Tlie third subject of consideration, the excellency of regeneration. 

Thirdly, Consider the excellency of that which the Lord requireth 
of thee for the avoiding of that easeless, endless misery of the 
damned, and the attaining the unspeakable and unchangeable feli- 
city of the saved. 

Reader, I pray thee speak to God in thine heart, and tell him 
what is the reason thou art so willing to go to hell, and so un- 
willing to go to heaven. Sure I am, as thou art a living creature, 
much more as a rational man, thou hast a natural inclination and 
propensity toward thine own good and felicity, and therefore thou 
canst not love hell directly, as it is torturing and racking of thy soul 
and body, though thou dost love it eventually, as it is the end of 
thy fleshly, ungodly life. Well, I will undertake for once to dive 
into thine heart, and tell the reason of thy backwardness towards 
heaven, and thy forwardness for hell. The reason is this, thou 
lookest on the power of godliness as distasteful to thy flesh, or dis- 

1 Swinliam, Court of Wards and Liv. 

Chap. XIV.] by the key of regeneration. 175 

graceful to thy name ; the yoke of Christ is too strict. It is not 
the end that displeaseth thee — thou couldst contentedly be happy 
— but it is the narrowness of the way, and the straitness of the 
gate, with which thou art dissatisfied ; it will not afford thee room 
enough for thy beloved lusts. Is it not so ? Let conscience 
speak. Well, I hope by the help of God to make thee of another 
mind, when thou hast thoroughly read this head which I am now 
writing of. 

It is the saying of Plato, that if moral philosophy could be seen 
with moral eyes, it would draw all men's hearts after it. Sure, 
sure I am, that if regeneration, or the divine nature, were seen 
with divine eyes, it would draw men's hearts, and heads, and hands, 
and all, after it. All that ever struck at it did it in the dark. 
' They spake evil of things which they knew not.' 

Keader, what is that which God requireth of thee ? Is it not 
to leave thy slavery to Satan, thy bondage to sin, and to accept and 
enjoy the glorious liberty of the sons of God ? Is it not that thou 
shouldst be divorced from sin, that misshapen monster, and spawn 
of the devil, whose person is deformed, whose company is defiling, 
and whose portion is damnation ; and that thou shouldst be married 
to Jesus Christ, the fairest of ten thousand, the heir of all things, 
who would adorn thee with the jewels of his graces, beautify thee 
with the embroidery of his Spirit, wash thee with his own blood, 
array thee with his own righteousness, and present thee to his 
Father without spot, to be blessed in his full immediate enjoyment 
for ever ? Is it not that thou shouldst cease thy drudgery to hell's 
jailor, live above the perishing profits, brutish pleasures, empty 
honours of the world and flesh, and that thou shouldst walk after the 
Spirit, walk with God, warm thine heart at the flame of his love, 
bathe thy soul in angelical delights, have thy conversation in heaven 
here, and thy habitation there hereafter ? Is not this, man, the sum 
and substance of what the Lord requireth of thee ? and art thou 
not shrewdly hurt? would not these things exceedingly injure 
thee ? Is not God a hard master to desire such things of thee ? 
Ah, didst thou but know the worth of them, hadst thou ever be- 
held their excellency, or tasted the comfort which is in them, thou 
wouldst scorn this lower world, with all its pomp, and pride, and 
pleasures, for them, and befool thyself to purpose for ever refusing 
or neglecting them. 

I shall endeavour, in some few particulars, to shew thee the 
worth and excellency of that to which thou art so unwilling, and 
possibly thou mayst thereby be convinced of thy madness and folly 


in sticking at that which would be tliine honour and felicity. Pliny 
saith, that an exact face can never be drawn but with much disad- 
vantage. Without doubt, regeneration, or the new creation, can 
neither be admired nor declared by any, no, nor by all the saints 
on earth, according to its worth. It is the beauty, glory, and 
wonder of saints and angels in heaven. 

First, Eegeneration is the image of God, who is an infinite and 
most perfect good. Here, friend, at first flight I soar high. One 
would think, if I should speak no more in commendation of it, 
here is enough to ravish thine heart with admiring it for ever ; it 
is the picture of God's own perfections. ' Put on the new man, 
which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,' Eph. 
iv. 24. As it is the same light that shineth forth in the morning 
which shineth forth in the body of the sun in its meridian, so it is 
the same holiness that shineth in its degrees in the Christian, which 
shineth in perfection in God, Heb. i. 3 ; Rom. viii. Regeneration 
would make thee pure, as God is pure ; God's will is the rule, and 
his nature the pattern of the saints' holiness. The coin hath the 
image and impression of the king ; Christ is the express image of 
his Father's person, and the saints are conformable to the image 
of his Son.i The church is Christ unfolded, Christ is not a mon- 
ster ; the head and members are homogeneal, like to each other. 

By reason man excelleth beasts, by holiness he excelleth himself, 
inferior only to the angels in degree, and made like unto the Lord, 
as far as a creature may be to his Creator. 

Now, how excellent is the image of God ! The picture of a king 
is esteemed, and valued at a high rate ; but what is the picture of 
a God ? Some say that the naked body of man was so glorious in 
his estate of innocency that all the beasts of the field admired it, 
and thereupon did homage to him. how beautiful and glorious 
is his soul become by regeneration, the image of God, that both 
saints, angels, and Jesus Christ, are taken with it, and wonder at 
it ! He that would not hear when the disciples were speaking and 
wondering at the building of the material temple, but contemned 
it, did both hear, see, and admire, at one piece of this spiritual 
temple ; when Jesus heard the centurion's words, ' he marvelled, 
and said to them that followed him, I have not found so great faith, 
no, not in Israel,' Matt. viii. 10, 15, 28. Nay, Christ is so taken 
with it that his heart is ravished and lost with it ; he is behearted 
with it, Cant. iv. 9, 10. 

It is observable that the blessed God, after every day's work in 

1 Mr Ball, Of Faith, p. 285. 

Chap. XIV.] by the key of eegeneration. 177 

the creation of the world, takes a view of what he had made, he 
saw it was good, G-en. i. ; but when he had made man the sixth 
day after his own image, and then took a review of his works, and 
saw everything that he had made, behold it was very good, or 
extreme good ; so good that it caused delight and complacency in 
God, and called for wonder and contemplation from man. ' Behold 
it was very good.' No doubt but the making of man so noble and 
holy did, above all the visible creatures, so affect the heart of God, 
that he liked the house much the better because of so rare an inha- 
bitant which he had made to dwell in it. Therefore when he had 
made man, he made no more, man being so fair a piece, such 
curious workmanship, that the infinite God resolved to rest and 
delight in him. So when he createth a soul in Christ Jesus unto 
good works, Eph. ii. 20, he rejoiceth over his new workmanship 
with exceeding joy, and resteth in his love, Zeph. iii. 17. But when 
he shall finish his new creation — for he will print man's holiness in 
the second edition in a larger letter and fairer character than it was 
at first — and bring it forth in the other world, it will infinitely 
surpass the stately fabric of heaven and earth. And oh how, how 
will it take, not only perfect spirits, but even the God of the spirits 
of all flesh ! Friend, can that be less than eminently excellent 
which doth thus ravish the heart of God himself with admiration 
at it, and affection to it ? Would this tend to thy dishonour or 
disadvantage, to be made like unto him who is the foundation and 
ocean of all excellencies and perfections ? 

Secondly, Regeneration is the destruction of sin, the greatest evil, 
therefore it must needs be excellent. Contraries put together will 
illustrate one another ; i the baseness and loathsomeness of sin will 
be a good foil to set off the beauty and loveliness of grace. For 
which cause I shall sj)eak the more to the filthiness of sin ; for as 
the better any good is, the more excellent it is to be full of it ; so 
the worse any evil is, the more excellent it is to be free from it. 
Besides, dying to sin being one essential part of regeneration, I 
shall not at all digress. 

Now, sin is the greatest evil in the world ; there was none like 
it before it, nor ever shall be after it. This brat of the devil is so 
vile and abominable that it is very hard to find out a name suitable 
to its ugly nature. Those terms by which it is called, of leprosy, 
spot, plague, vomit, mire, scum, ulcers, issues, dead carcase, exha- 
lation from a grave, the vessel into which nature emptieth itself, 
filthiness, superfluity of naughtiness, the pollution of a new-born 

1 Contraria juxta se posita magis lucescunt. 
VOL. V. M 


infant, and many more ; these all come far sliort of shewing the 
poisonous evil which is in sin. Therefore the apostle, when he 
christens this child of disobedience, calls it by its sirname, ' that 
sin by the commandment might appear exceeding sinful,' Rom. 
vii. 13. The apostle there doth discharge the law, and charge all 
upon his own lust, which by the commandment takes occasion, as 
water at a bridge that stops and hinders it, to rage the more ; or 
possibly, as a foul face by a glass, so sin by the commandment 
appeared to be exceeding sinful. Mark, the apostle doth not say 
that sin by the glass of the law appeared to be exceeding foul and 
filthy, or exceeding deformed and ugly, or exceeding hellish or 
devilish, but exceeding sinful ; this includes all them, and much 
more. Had he studied a thousand years for a name, he could not 
have called it by a worse name than its own, sinful sin. 

Luther saith that could a man but see perfectly the evil of his 
sins on earth, it would be a hell to him, such a frightful ugly mon- 
ster is sin. 

Look on sin which way thou wilt, and it is exceeding sinful, the 
evil of evils. 

Take it in its nature, it is a deviation from God's law, a wander- 
ing from his word, a casting his law behind the back ; the law is 
straight, sin is crookedness, Ps. cxxv. 5. The law is holy, sin is 
defilement, Rom. vii. 12 ; 2 Cor. vii. 1. The law is just, sin is 
unrighteousness, 1 John i. 7. The law is liberty, sin is bondage, 
James ii. 8, 12 ; 2 Tim. ii. 26. Sin is a defacing of God's image ; 
it blots and blurs that fair and beautiful writing, not only meritori- 
ously, as it provokes God to withdraw his grace, but physically, as 
one contrary expels another. Hereby it dishonours God's name, 
and reproacheth his majesty. Num. xv. 30 ; Rom. ii. 23, 24 ; 
2 Sam. xii. 12 ; Lev. xii. 26 ; Zech. xi. 8 ; Rom. viii. 7 ; Rom. i. 
30; 1 Sam. xv. 23; Isa. i. 2 ; Rom. vi. 16 ; Ps. xiv. 1 ; for what 
greater disgrace can be done to a prince than to tread his orders 
under foot, and tear, and scratch, and deface his picture ? 

Nay, it is a defying and fighting against God, a walking con- 
trary to him, a daring of him ; it is enmity against him, loathing 
him, hatred of him, contrariety to him ; it is against his sovereignty, 
and so is rebellion ; against his mercy, and so is unkindness ; against 
his justice, and so is unrighteousness; against his wisdom, and so 
is folly ; against his will, and so is stubbornness. Were it strong 
enough, it would ungod him ; were the sinner's power according to 
his corrupt heart, he would pluck God out of heaven. I would I 
were above God, saith Spira. When the body of sin is nailed as a 

Chap. XIV.] by the key of eegeneration. 179 

thief on the cross, yet even then it will rage, as he, and spit out 
poison against heaven, i 

Eeacler, canst thou find in thine heart to hug and embrace such 
a traitor against the gracious and blessed God ? ' To stretch out 
thine hand against God/ as every sinner doth, ' and strengthen 
thyself against the Almighty ?' Job xv. 25. Stretch out thine hand 
against God ? No man should lift up a word against God ; our 
mouths should shew forth his praise.^ Stretch out thine hand 
against God ? no man should lift up a thought against God ; our 
meditations of him should be for him. Stretch out thine hand 
against God ? every man should bow down and worship before God, 
and be satisfied in whatever he saith and doth. Stretch out thine 
hand against God ? thou art bound to stretch out thine heart, and 
hand, and tongue, to think, and speak, and act, and all for God ; and 
all little enough. 

Take sin in its effect, and what evil is like it ? It is the cause 
of all other evils. Dost thou consider the emptiness, vanity, and 
vexation in the creatures ? Eccles. i, 3 ; the heavens fighting 
against man, the earth bearing thorns and briers ; the diseases 
in men's bodies, the burning fever, watery dropsy, aching teeth, 
running gout, racking stone, renting colic, the quivering lips, 
trembling loins, ghastly looks of dying men ; the horrors of con- 
science, flashes of the internal fire, curses of the law, wrath of God, 
torments of hell ; all these are the fruits of sin. All misery calleth 
sin mother ; this is the root of bitterness upon which they grow : 
' The wages of sin is death,' Kom. vi. 21, 23, and v. 12. That big- 
bellied word death hath all these woeful brats in its belly, and sin is 
the father that begat them. Sin turned Adam out of paradise, angels 
into devils, Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, flourishing families, 
cities, kingdoms, into ruinous heaps ; sin shuts heaven against man, 
laid the foundation of that dark vault of hell ; sin kindled the fire 
of hell ; sin feeds it with fuel, and will keep it burning for ever. 
Oh what an evil is sin ! who would not hate it more than hell ! 

Is it good to play with such fire as sin is ? Didst thou believe 
sin to be the cause of all this, thou wouldst never open thy heart 
or mouth more for it. Dost thou know that as where the effect is 
good, the cause is better ; so where the effect is bad, the cause is 
worse ? Can there be worse effects than eternal separation from 
God, and suffering the vengeance of eternal fire ? How bad is sin, 
then, which is the cause of them ! 

Take sin as a punishment, and it is the evil, the only evil 

^ Omne peccatum est deicidium. * Vide Car. in he. to this purpose. 


there is no suffering like to this, to be given up to a course of sin- 
ning. Reader, take heed of continuing an hour longer in thine un- 
godly practices ; it may be thou hast been ready to think it a 
great happiness to sin without control, to run in the road of the 
flesh, and to meet with no rubs, to prosper though thou art wicked. 

1 tell thee, and think of it the longest day thou livest, for it 
highly concerneth thee, that the infinite God never claps a more 
dreadful curse on any man or woman, on this side hell, than to give 
them up to sin. If Grod should give thee up to the sword, famine, 
most painful diseases, to thy most cruel, potent, and malicious 
enemies, to be racked by them at pleasure, these were nothing to 
this, to be given up to one sin. When God hath used his rods, 
scourging men, and they will not reform, then he takes this axe, 
and presently execution followeth. To be delivered up to the power 
of men may be the lot of God's sons, but to be delivered up to 
the power of sin is the portion of rebels and reprobates. 

This is the stinging whip with which God punisheth Ephraim. 
Ephraim is joined to idols, there is his impiety, 2 Tim. iii. 13 ; 

2 Thes. ii. 10, 11. But what grievous punishment shall he have 
for his God-provoking idolatry ? ' Let him alone,' Hosea iv, 17. 
It is not, I will send the raging pestilence, or cruel famine, or 
bloody sword, but he is joined to idols, let him alone ; I will 
not have him disturbed or molested, but he shall have his will, 
though it prove his everlasting woe, Rom. i. 21, 22 ; Ps. Ixxxi. 11, 
12 ; Hosea viii. 11. 

It is a woe with a witness for God to let thy lusts, like so many 
ravenous lions, loose upon thee, and to lay the reins of thy sins upon 
thy own neck. We read of one delivered up to Satan, yet he was 
saved, 1 Cor. v. compared with 2 Cor. vii. ; but never of any 
delivered up to their sins, but they were damned. 

It was a sad sight which Abraham saw, when he beheld flakes of 
fire rained from heaven upon the Sodomites ; but it was a sadder 
which Lot beheld when he saw the fire of hell burning in their 
hearts, and breaking out in their lives, and his righteous soul was 
vexed therewith. 

Reader, have a care that thou never in thy heart plead more for 
sin ; who would open his mouth for such a monster, when there is 
no evil like it ? Doth God offer thee anything to thy hurt, when 
he would make a separation between thy soul and thy sins ? doth 
he desire anything to thy disadvantage when he desireth thee to 
give a bill of divorce to sin, which is the source of all sorrows, the 
only enemy of thy best friend, the ever -blessed God, and to be given 

Chap. XIV.] by the key of regeneration. 181 

up to which is the greatest plague and punishment on this side 
hell ? Tell me, is not regeneration excellent, which killeth such 
venomous serpents, which executeth such traitors, which mortifieth 
these earthly members, and dasheth these brats of Babylon against 
the wall ! 

Thirdly, The price paid for this pearl doth loudly speak its excel- 
lency. Eeader, little dost thou think what regeneration cost. I 
tell thee, and thou mayest Avell wonder at it, the Son of God came 
from heaven, suffered the boundless rage of devils, and infinite 
wrath of God, in man's nature, upon this very errand, to purchase 
regeneration and sanctification for poor sinners. Read and admire : 
' Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible 
things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation ; but with 
the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and 
without spot,' 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. See the worth of this ware by that 
which it cost, the precious blood of Christ; surely it was a jewel 
of inestimable value which the Son of God thought worth his pre- 
cious blood. 

As lightly as thou thinkest of the death of sin, and the life of 
righteousness, the Lord Jesus underwent more than any one in hell 
feels, to buy them of his Father for the sons of men. Ah, none 
knoweth but God and Christ what it cost to buy off man's debts 
and guilt, and to procure a new stock of holiness for his poor 
bankrupt creature to set up with again. ' Who his own self bare 
our sins in his body on the tree, that we being dead to sin might 
live unto righteousness,' 1 Pet. ii. 24. Had man kept his original 
purity, the Lord Jesus might have spared all his pains. The second 
Adam came to restore that jewel to man, of which the first Adam 
robbed him, Tit. ii. 14 ; John x. 10. This rare jewel, this choice 
mercy, was regeneration and holiness, and this Christ looks upon as 
the full reward of his sufferings. ' He shall see the travail of his 
soul, and be satisfied,' Isa. liii. 11. The truth is, Christ had ex- 
ceeding hard labour — the Greek fathers call it unknown sufferings ; 
he had many a bitter pang, many a sharp throe ; but for joy that 
children are born of God, that those throes bring forth a numerous 
issue of new creatures, he forgets his sorrows. ' He shall see the 
travail of his soul, and be satisfied.' 

Consider, friend, did Christ esteem regeneration worth his blood 
to merit it, and is it not worth thy prayers, and tears, and utmost 
endeavours to obtain it ? Did Christ come to destroy the works 
of the devil, which is sin, 1 John iii. 8, and wilt thou build them 
up ? Did the Lord Jesus come to build up the temple of holiness, 


and wilt thou putl it down ? Did Christ think it worth the while 
to be reproached, condemned, crucified, and all to make thee holy, 
and wilt thou be such an enemy to the cross of Christ, as by con- 
tinuing in sin to dein-ive him of that which he earned so dearly ? 
Why wilt thou bind thyself to be a slave to Satan, when he re- 
deemed thee with such a vast sum ? 

Did the merciful God send his Son into the world to bless thee, 
in turning thee from thine iniquity, and canst thou look upon that 
great blessing as thy bondage ? Acts iii, 26. Believe it, God had 
servants enough, even angels that are ever ready to do his will, to 
send ordinary gifts by ; surely then it was some extraordinary present 
that he thought none worthy to carry, and would trust none with 
but his only Son. God ' sent him to bless you in turning every one 
of you from your iniquities.' I hope, reader, thou wilt have higher 
thoughts of holiness, and worse thoughts of sin all thy days. 
Surely the Son of God was not so prodigal of his most precious blood, 
as to pour it out for anything that was not superlatively excellent. 

Fourthly, Eegeneration, and the renewing of man, will appear to 
be excellent, in that it is the great end of God in his works. The 
more noble any being is, the more excellent ends it propounds to 
itself in its working. Thence it is that a man hath higher ends 
than a beast ; the ends of a beast are only to please sense, but the 
ends of a man are to satisfy his understanding. Hence, also, the 
ends of a Christian are more excellent than the ends of other men ; 
his being is more noble, and so are his ends— to please, glorify, 
and enjoy God. How excellent then is that which the infinitely 
perfect God makes his end ! Surely the Most High cannot pro- 
pound any low ends in his operations. He that is the only wise 
God must have eminent designs and ends. 

Now unclasp the secret book of God's decree, and look into it as 
far as the word will warrant thee, and thou shalt find that in that 
internal work of election God had the renewing of man after his 
image in his eye, and to be his end : ' According as he hath chosen 
us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be 
holy, and without blame before him in love,' Eph. i. 4, As an 
artificer or statuary, that hath many pieces of stone all alike, 
hewn out of the same quarry, in his yard, sets some apart from 
the rest in his own thoughts, intending to make some choice 
statue, some special piece of them. 

So when all mankind was before God, he did, in his eternal 
thoughts, set some apart to be chosen pieces, to be holy and with- 
out blame. 

Chap. XIV.] by the key of regeneration. 183 

Go from God's decree to its execution, from liis inward to his 
outward actions, and thou shalt find thy renewing after his image 
to be full in his eye, Prov. xvi. 4 ; Ps. c. 4, 5 ; Kev. iv. 11. In thy 
creation he thought of thy regeneration ; he made thee, that he 
might new make thee. Thou art a man, that thou mightst be- 
come a Christian. God made thee a rational creature, that thou 
mightst be made a new creature. He gave thee the matter, in 
giving thee a body and a rational soul, that thereby thou mightst be 
capable of the form, which is the impression of his image on both. 
There must be a tree before it can be hewed and squared for some 
curious building. God did not make thee to eat, and drink, and 
sleep, and toil in thy calling, but to honour him, and to live to 
him, which are the actions of the new creature. 

Trace God further, from creation to providence, and therein also 
thou mayest observe this to be his end. Why doth he send the 
warm summer of prosperity, and refresh thee with his cheering 
beams and influences, but to cause thee to blossom, and bud, and 
ripen in the fruits of holiness ? ' There is mercy with thee, that 
thou mayest be feared,' Ps. cxxx. 4. Why doth he send the nip- 
ping W' inter of adversity, but to kill the hurtful weeds of thy lusts ? 
This is his end in afflicting, even the taking away of sin, Isa. xxvii. 
9, He useth the flail that the husks may fall off ; when one key 
will not open the door of thy heart, he will try another. Why doth 
he interweave mercy and affliction, that his providences towards the 
children of men are chequer-work, white and black, black and 
white, mercy and affliction, affliction and mercy, but because his 
infinite wisdom seetli that this mixture will suit best with his ends, 
the purifying and renewing his creature ? If all the year were 
summer, the sap of the trees would be quite exhausted ; if all were 
winter, it would be quite buried. If thou hadst nothing in thy 
body but natural heat, it would burn thee up ; if nothing but 
moisture, it would drown thee ; therefore thy radical moisture 
allayeth thy natural heat, and thy natural heat giveth bounds to 
thy radical moisture ; and each, well tempered, make an excellent 
constitution of body. If thou hadst nothing but mercy, thou 
wouldst be wanton and conceited ; if nothing but misery, thou 
wouldst be too much dejected ; therefore God sendeth mercy to 
make thee cheerful, and misery to keep thee awful. The good 
physician tempereth his drugs wisely, and weigheth them exactly, 
and so prescribes and gives them as they may best conduce to 
the carrying on of his own end, the spiritual health of his 


Fifthly, Regeneration will appear to be excellent, in that it is the 
special work of God himself. 

Grace is the immediate creature of God ; man can ruin, but not 
renew himself. ' Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of 
the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,' John i. 13. Man 
may lay some claim (though there also God is the principal) to 
the fatherhood of our fleshly beings, but God alone can lay claim 
to the fatherhood of our spiritual beings. Holiness is a beam of 
light darted forth from none but the Sun of righteousness. ' We 
are his workmanship),' Eph. ii. 10 ; his workmanship both by way 
of efSciency and excellency. 

How beautiful is that structure which hath such a builder ! 
What a rare work must that be which hath such a workman ? 
Surely that is a choice plant which is of God's own planting. Oh 
who would not be in love with so fair a child for the Father's sake ? 

The creation of our outward beings, as we are men, is the work 
of God. ' Thy hands have made me and fashioned me,' Ps. cxix. 
73. God makes every man as well as the first man, Job x. 8-10. 
Nature and natural causes are nothing but the order in which, and 
the tools with which, he is pleased to work. 

Now this work of God is excellent ; it is the masterpiece of the 
visible creation. Man is the fair workmanship of a wise artificer, 
saith one heathen ; the bold attempt of daring nature, saith an- 
other. One of the ancients calleth man the miracle of miracles ; 
another, the measure of all things ; a third, the world's epitome — 
the world in a small volume. 

The body, which is the worst half of man, is curiously wrought 
in the lowest parts of the earth, and made in secret, as curious 
workmen, when they have some choice piece in hand, they perfect 
it in private, and then bring it forth to the light for men to gaze 
on. ' In thy book were all my members written,' Ps. cxxxix. 

A skilful architect, who is to set up some stately building, will 
draw a model of it in his book, or upon a table, before he will 
adventure to set it up, to be sure that it shall be done exactly. 
So, to shew what an exact piece the body of man is, God is said to 
work it by the book. But the soul, which is God's work too, is a 
more exquisite piece ; the body is, as it were, the sheath, Dan. vii. 
15, the soul is the glittering sword; the body is but the cabinet, 
this is the jewel ; it is by this that man claims kindred with the 
angels in heaven, and surpasseth all creatures on earth. 

Consider then, if this work of God's hands, this visible creation, 

Chap. XIV.] by the key of regenekation. 185 

be so excellent, how excellent is the invisible creation, the creating 
man in Christ unto good works ? Surely that is curious work, 
workmanship indeed. 

The tables of stone, hewed immediately by the hand of God, 
and on which he had with his own fingers written the law, was 
such a piece that mortal eyes could not behold it without astonish- 
ment and admiration. What a rare manuscript was that, where 
the book, the matter, the writing, were all of God's own making 
and doing ! But the writing of the law in the fleshly tables of the 
heart by the Spirit of God is much more glorious. 

I am very willing, friend, to convince thee of the excellency of 
regeneration, and therefore would speak more to this head. Think 
of what thou pleasest, which thine understanding can judge excel- 
lent, and thou shalt find the image of God far more excellent. 

Is wealth excellent ? Luke xvi. 1. This is the true riches, 1 Tim. 
vi. 7; others are but the shadow, this is the substance. Mat. vi. 19, 
20 ; other riches are but for a short time, these are for ever, 
durable riches and righteousness, Prov. viii. 18. Other riches will 
go only, as brass farthings, in some particular places, in this 
beggarly low world of earth, but these, like gold and silver, go in all 
countries, are current coin even in the higher world of heaven. 

Is wisdom excellent ? This is wisdom : ' The fear of the Lord 
is the beginning (the word signifieth the apex, the top, the perfec- 
tion) of wisdom,' Prov. i. 7 ; Job xxviii. 2. The pious man is the 
prudent man ; he alone can judge rightly of things, set a due 
price upon things, propound to himself the noblest ends, and use 
the best means ; therefore he is called by way of eminency a man 
of wisdom, Micah vi. 9. The knowing subtle pharisees, for want 
of this, were but learned fools. Mat. xxiii. 17. Sinner and fool are 
synonymous in Scripture : the English word fool is thought to 
come from the Greek <fidv\o'?, which signifieth wicked. 

Is beauty excellent ? Grace is the greatest beauty ; the beauty 
of holiness, Ps. ex. 5. Oh how comely is the new creature ! never 
any saw it but fell in love with it. The spouse of Christ is the 
fairest among women : ' Thou art all fair, my love, thou art all 
fair,' Cant. iv. 1. Godliness is such a beauty, that, as I have said 
before, God himself is taken with it. Sin is a spot, a defilement ; 
this beauty is inward, it sits upon the face of the most noble part 
of man, the soul, and thereby is the more comely ; it is lasting, not 
liable to the rage of a disease or wrinkles of old age, but always 
increasing, whilst here, to a greater perfection. 

Is pleasure excellent ? Godliness is pleasant. Regeneration 


brings the soul to its centre, in which it must needs rest, Prov. iii. 
17. The very work of serving God is a reward in itself: ' In the 
keeping of them (meaning God's commandments) there is great 
reward,' Ps. xix. 11. Observe, in keeping of them. The service 
of God affords men such satisfaction that God's servants would not 
leave it for all this world, though they were to receive no recom- 
pense in the other world. The precepts of God are sweeter than 
the honey ; how sweet then are his promises ! 

Is life excellent ? This is the true life. Eternal life, saith Au- 
gustine, is the true life. This is the seed, the beginning of eternal 
life, John xvii. 3. Allunregeneratemen are dead, are but walking 
ghosts, or moving carcases ; their souls are but like salt, to keep 
their bodies from putrefaction for a season. The heathen said of a 
vicious man that lived to be old, alluding to mariners. He was 
much tossed up and down, but sailed not at all.^ All the time of 
thy natural life till thou art converted is lost. Paul dates his life 
from his regeneration. We count not a tree living for standing in 
a garden if it bring not forth fruit. 

Is honour excellent ? Holiness is honourable : ' Holiness be- 
cometh thy house, Lord of hosts,' Ps. xciii. 5. It is more honour 
to be a member of Christ than to be monarch of Christendom. 
Godliness is the honourable livery wliich Christ purchased for and 
bestowed on the society of Christians. He gave himself for his 
church, ' that he might present it to himself a glorious church, 
without spot or wrinkle,' Eph. v. 27. 

In a word, holiness is the honour and excellency of God him- 
self, Exod. XV. 11. He is said to be glorious in holiness; he is 
called rich in mercy, Eph. ii. 3, but glorious in holiness. His 
mercy is his treasure, but his holiness is his honour. He sweareth 
by his holiness : Ps. Ixxxix. 35, ' Once have I sworn by my holi- 
ness that I will not lie unto David.' Great persons, though sinfully, 
will swear by their titles, by their honours, by that which they glory 
most in ; these are their oaths that are most binding with them. 
The great God, in whom is no iniquity, sweareth by his holiness, 
as his crown-glory, his great excellency. He is above thirty times 
called the Holy One of Israel. This is the excellency which angels 
and perfect spirits in heaven, and saints on earth, do so much admire 
him for, Isa. vi. 3 ; Kev. iv. 8. 

Nay, as gold, because it is the most excellent metal, is laid not 
only over pewter and brass, but also over silver itself ; so because 
holiness is the excellency, the perfection of God, it is laid not only 

1 Multum jactatus est, noa multum navigavit. — Sen. ad PauUn. 

Chap. XIV.] by the key of eegeneration. 187 

over his servants, his sanctuary, his services, his word, his works, 
his Sabbath, his temple, and everything that belongs to him, Exod. 
xxiv. 8, and xx. 35 ; Rev. xvi. 33 ; Exod. xvi. 23 ; Ps. cv. 42, but 
also over all his other choice attributes, Isa. Iv. 10. His power is 
holy power, his mercy is holy mercy, his wisdom is holy wisdom ; 
holiness is the perfection of all his excellent attributes, Ps. cxlv. 17 ; 
for were it possible, which is high blasphemy for any to imagine, 
for those attributes to be separated from his holiness, they would 
degenerate, his wisdom into craft, his justice into cruelty, his mercy 
into foolish pity, and his sovereignty into tyranny. It is the holi- 
ness of God which poiseth every one. Oh the excellency, the 
excellency of holiness ! who knoweth its worth ! ^ 

Eeader, what dost thou think of this third subject of consider- 
ation, the excellency of regeneration and holiness, which God 
requireth of thee for the avoiding of hell and attaining of heaven ? 
Tell me, doth God require anything to thy wrong ? If God re- 
quired of thee to live a thousand years on earth, and to spend all 
thy time in hunger, cold, nakedness, disgrace, pains, and imprison- 
ment, or otherwise thou shouldst not escape unquenchable burnings, 
and enjoy eternal life, thou wert worse than mad if thou didst not 
accept of and obey such a command. How hearty and thankful 
then should thy acceptance be of Jesus Christ to be thy Lord and 
Saviour, of dying to sin, and living to, and delighting thyself in, 
his blessed Majesty, which is all he desireth of thee ? Oh do not 
refuse when thou art so well offered ! Is it possible that thou canst 
read so much of the excellency of regeneration, how it is the image 
of the glorious God, the destruction of the evil of evils, the fruit of 
the death of Jesus Christ, the end which infinite wisdom propounds 
in his workings, the special workmanship of God's own hands, the 
high honour and perfection of the mighty possessor of heaven and 
earth, and thy soul not be in love Avitli it, nor breathe after it, oh 
that I were regenerated ? Oh that my soul had those true trea- 
sures, those spiritual pleasures, that wisdom, that life, that honour, 
that beauty, that excellency, which no tongue can commend suffi- 
ciently ! Oh that the pure image of God were imprinted on me ! 
Oh that Christ might see the travail of his soul upon me, and be 
satisfied ! 

I have read that when Zeuxis, the famous painter, had drawn 
his masterpiece, the picture of Helena, Nicostratus, the Athenian 
painter, beholding it, stood amazed at its rareness, and admired 
the exquisiteness of it. There stands by a rich ignorant wretch, 

^ Gurn. Ar.; part ii. p. 139. 


wlio would needs know what Nicostratus discovered in it worthy of 
so much wonder. friend, saith he, hadst thou my eyes thou 
wouklst not ask such a question, but rather admire it as I do. It 
may be, reader, when thou seest the saints admiring the beauty of 
holiness, ravished with the excellency of God's image, so extremely 
taken with it that they read, hear, watch, fast, pvay, mourn, weep, 
suffer anything, all things, to enjoy more of it, thou art ready to 
wonder what they see in holiness worthy of such admiration and 
such diligent endeavours ; but I tell thee, hadst thou their eyes, 
instead of wondering at them, thou wouklst wonder with them, ay, 
and work with them too, and that hard, for holiness. 


The fourth subject of consideration, The necessity of regeneration. 

Fourthly, Consider the absolute necessity of regeneration ; if it 
were not so excellent, yet it is a thing of absolute necessity, and 
therefore must not be neglected. It is not a work of indifferency, 
which may be done or may not be done, but a work of indispensable 
necessity, which must be done, or thou art undone for ever. Keader, 
here is an argument which neither the flesh nor world nor devil can 
answer, and therefore it must not be denied. It is indeed so fruitful 
a blessing that if thou hast this, thou needest no more ; everything 
that is worth aught is in the womb of it ; but it is so needful that 
if thou hast not this, thou hast nothing ; the whole world cannot 
make up the want of this. 

There are many things about which possibly thou spendest much 
time, and takest much pains, which are nothing at all necessary in 
comparison of this. 

Riches are not necessary ; the want of temporal may be supplied 
by the fruition of spiritual riches. Thou mayest be poor in the 
world, and yet rich in faith, and heir of a kmgdom, James ii. 5. 
Nay, riches are so far from being absolutely needful, that they may 
be hurtful to thee. Thou mightst, as the Reubenites, shouldst thou 
have good land here, take up short of the land of promise. Christ 
calleth riches thorns, Mat. xiii. 22 ; and surely it is hard to touch 
them and not to prick thy fingers. How hardly shall a rich man 
enter into the kingdom of heaven ? 

Pleasures are not necessary. He that hath little but misery 
here may find mercy hereafter. Though Job had his sores and 

Chap. XV.] by the key of regeneration. 189 

pains, yet he had a right to the pleasures at God's right hand for 
evermore. He that endured hunger, cokl, thirst, nakedness, watch- 
ing, fasting, weariness, painfulness, that was scourged, imprisoned, 
stoned, yet was a chosen vessel unto God, and heir to a crown of 
righteousness, 2 Cor. xi. 23-29 ; Acts ix. 15 ; 2 Tim. iv. 6. Be- 
sides, pleasures may be hurtful to thee ; those bees have their stings 
as well as their honey, and many feed so plentifully on such luscious 
food that they surfeit themselves. Aristotle speaks of a piece of 
ground in Sicily which sendeth forth such a strong smell of fra- 
grant flowers to all the fields thereabout, that dogs cannot hunt 
there, the scent is so confounded with the smell of those flowers. 
Earthly pleasures do not seldom hinder our scent and sense of 
spiritual delights. 

Honours are not necessary. A man may be condemned and 
lightly esteemed by men, and yet be commended and highly 
esteemed by God. Disgrace may be the way to glory. Joseph 
went through a prison into a palace, and Jesus from a shameful 
cross to a glorious crown. Honours also may be hurtful to thee. 
Some climb so high that they break their necks. Those that are 
in high places are apt to have their heads giddy, and thereby are 
in great danger of falling. Haman's height and glory brought him 
to be high at last on the gallows. 

Friends and relations are not necessary. He that is friendless on 
earth may be a favourite of heaven ; when no man stood by Paul, 
the Lord was with him and strengthened him ; when David's father 
and mother forsook him, God took the care of him. When those 
stars vanished, the sun arose. These also may be hurtful to thee ; 
thou mayest catch their diseases. Amnon was the worse for 
Jonadab, and Ahab the more wicked for Jezebel. 

Health is not necessary. A distempered body may have a healthy 
soul. When the outward man decay eth, the inward man may be 
renewed day by day. No disease, so it be not spiritual, can keep 
the physician of souls from visiting his patients : sanctified sickness 
is far better than unsanctified soundness. 

Nay, life itself, which is far more worth than all the foresaid 
particulars, is not necessary but in order to this spiritual life of 
regeneration ; if that work be done, a man by losing his life may 
be a gainer. Some by yielding up their leases, which were but for a 
term of years, have got the fee-simple, the inheritance, for ever ; by 
parting with their natural lives they have got possession of eternal 
life. But, friend, regeneration is absolutely necessary. The em- 
peror told the mariner, when he would have dissuaded him from 


going to sea because the waters were rough, and it might endanger 
his life, It is more necessary that I go than that I Hve.^ I tell 
thee, it is more necessary that thou live spiritually than that thou 
live naturally : thy riches, honours, pleasures, health, friends, are 
but toys and trifles to regeneration ; and truly life itself is little or 
nothing worth, but as it makes thee capable of getting and enjoying 
this. Oh what a poor empty shadow is the life of the greatest 
prince that is a stranger to fellowship with God, which regeneration, 
bringeth the soul to ! 

The reason why these forementioned things are not necessary, is 
partly because the want of all these things may be made up in the 
enjoyment of God, ' Verily I say unto you, that ye who have fol- 
lowed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit upon 
his throne, shall also sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve 
tribes of Israel,' Mat. xix. 28. ' There is no man that hath left 
house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or chil- 
dren, or lands, for my sake and the gospel's, but he shall receive an 
hundredfold in time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, 
and children, and land, with persecution ; and in the world to come 
life everlasting,' Mark x. 29, 30. The regenerate, though never so 
poor, naked, disgraced, sickly, yet in the sun they have all those 
beams, and much, much more. As Alexander told Parmenio, 
when in the beginning of a battle he was earnest with him to send 
some forces to regain their weapons and baggage then newly lost, Let 
us secure the main battle, for if the field be won, we shall recover all 
our baggage with advantage. So if the soul be safe, being by regene- 
ration grafted into Christ ; if thou winnest the main battle against 
sin and Satan, thou wilt recover those with advantage. Those 
things are not necessary, partly because the want of them will not 
undo a man for ever ; a man's eternal estate may be secured, though 
these things be removed ; but regeneration is indispensably neces- 
sary, because nothing can make up the want of it ; not all the golden 
mines in India, nor the sweetest paradise of earthly pleasures, nor 
the highest chair of state, nor friends, nor kindred, nor health, nor 
strength, nor life, can make up the want of this. If this be want- 
ing, thy God is wanting, thy Christ is wanting, thy heaven, thy 
happiness, thy all is wanting. The want of this will undo thee 
for ever ; it will make thee miscarry in the ocean ; this leak will 
sink thee eternally. It is a standing law of heaven, that except 
a man be converted, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. 
Mat. xviii. 3. 

^ Necesse est ut cam, non ut vivam. 

Chap. XV.] by the key of regeneration. 191 

There is, in regard of the ordination of God, as great a necessity 
of regeneration as of Jesus Christ ; for what advantage canst thou 
have by all the riches and revenues of the Son of God till by 
regeneration thou art married to him and made one with him ? 
Observe, reader, this fourfold necessity of regeneration. 

It is necessary in regard of God's precept, ' Turn ye, turn ye, 
why will ye die?' Ezek. xxxiii. 11, 31, 32; Isa. i. 16, 17; Jer. 
iii. 1 ; Hosea xiv. 1 ; James iv. 9. There is a necessity either of 
hearing God's voice or feeling God's hand ; either the command- 
ments of God must be obeyed by thee, or the judgments of God 
must be inflicted on thee. It is a gospel precept, Eph. iv. 23, 24 ; 
now gospel precepts must be minded by all that would partake of 
gospel privileges.! 

It is necessary in regard of the purpose of God. ' Elect accord- 
ing to the foreknowledge of God, through sanctification of the Spirit, 
unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,' 1 Pet. 
i. 2. Though God did not choose men because they were holy, yet 
he chose men to be holy ; though he appointed not men to be saved 
because they were saints, yet he aj^pointed men to be saints, and 
then to be saved. 

It is necessary in regard of the passion of Christ. He died for sin 
that men might die to sin ; he laid down his life that men might 
lay down their lusts ; his passion is a city of refuge to the penitent, 
not a sanctuary to the presumptuous. God intended it to help men 
out of, not to hold them in, the mire of sin. ' He is the author of 
eternal salvation to them that obey him,' Heb. v. 9. He died be- 
cause men were sinners, but he died that men might be saints : 
' He suffered, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God,' 1 Pet. 
iii. 18. Now man and God can never be brought together till the 
enmity which is in the heart of man against God be removed. If 
ever thou have Christ for thy priest, to satisfy God's justice for thy 
sins, it is absolutely necessary that thou accept him for thy prince, 
to subdue thee to his service. Had Christ come to procure man a 
pardon, and not to restore his lost holiness, he had been a minister 
of sin ; and instead of bringing glory to God, he had set sin in the 
throne, and only obtained a liberty for the creature to dishonour 
God without control.2 Again, saith the same accurate writer, in 
vain do men think to shroud themselves under Christ's wings from 
the hue and cry of their accusing consciences, while wickedness 

^ See the necessity of it farther in the reasons of the doctrine and the first use of 

^ Gur. Arm., part ii. p. 217. 


finds a sanctuary in them. Christ was sent from God, not to 
secure men in, but to save men from, their sins. 

It is necessary in regard of the promises of God, ' Thus saith 
the Lord of hosts ; Turn to me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will 
turn to you, saith the Lord of hosts,' Zech. i. 3. ' Draw nigh to 
God, and he will draw nigh to you,' James iv. 8. If ever God 
draw nigh to thee in mercy, thou must draw nigh to him in duty. 
He that shall have the reward must do the work. The precepts 
of God must be written on thy heart, otherwise the promises of 
God shall never fall down on thine head, Isa. i. 16, 17, and Iv. 7 ; 
1 Kings viii. 35 ; Pro v. xxviii. 13. 

' Blessed are the pure in spirit, for they shall see God,' Mat. v. 8. 
It is the pure heart alone that hath the assurance of the pure 

Thou seest now, I hope, clearly the absolute necessity of regenera- 
tion ; what therefore canst thou think to do with it ? Oh ponder 
this again and again, that there is no escape, no evasion ; God will 
not vary from his law. 

Thy dying to sin is necessary ; sin must die, or thy soul cannot 
live. ' If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die ; but if ye through the 
Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live,' Rom. viii. 13 ; 
Gal. vi. 6, 7. Surely thou canst not think that heaven will be a 
sty for swine, or a kennel for dogs, that feed on filth and carrion. 
Believe it, if any iniquity be let go, thy life must go for its life. 
The jailers paid dear for letting Peter escape, Acts xii. ; Herod 
commanded them to be put to death. Truly, so dear thou must 
pay for the escape of sin ; it will bring the second death, even 
eternal death, upon thee. Be thy sin as near and as dear as Isaac, 
it must be sacrificed ; be it never so small, it must not be spared. 
Ceesar was stabbed with bodkins. I have somewhere read that a 
man and crocodile never meet but one dieth. It is certain sin and 
the soul never meet but one dieth ; if sin live, the soul dieth ; if sin 
die, the soul liveth ; there is no parting stakes, or retreating upon 
equal terms. Maurice of Newport told his soldiers, when he had 
sent away his boats, that there was no flying, the Spaniards being 
before them, and the sea behind them ; either ye must eat up and 
destroy those Spaniards, or drink up this ocean. Friend, such is 
thy case ; either thou must destroy thy sins, or drink up the bottom- 
less ocean of the Lord's wrath. 

Answer me seriously : thou wilt say thou dost not love such a 
man so well as to be hanged for him. Dost thou love sin so well 
as to be damned for it ? Dost thou love thy drunkenness, and 

Chap. XY.] by the key of regeneration. 193 

swearing, and uncleanness, and scoffing at godliness, so well as to 
burn eternally in hell for them ? Dost thou love thy pride, and 
worldliness, and lustful thoughts, and atheism, and carnal-minded- 
ness, so well as to be tormented, day and night, for ever and ever, 
for them ? A very coward will fight when he must either kill or 
be killed. Wilt thou not fight manfully when sin will kill thee, if 
it be not killed by thee ? Ahab, out of foolish pity, gave Benhadad 
his life when he ought to have slain him ; but the requital which 
Benhadad made was to kill Ahab, 1 Kings xxii. 31, 34; such a 
requital sin will make thee if thou favour it. 

' Follow after peace and holiness, without which no man shall 
see the Lord,' ^ Heb. xii. 14. Observe how peremptory God is in 
that place, that without holiness no man shall see God. It is not 
said that without peace no man shall see God, but without holiness 
no man shall see God. Peace may be broken in the quarrel of 
truth and holiness, yet for all that a man may see God. Jeremiah 
was a man of contention, and yet a man for the beatifical vision ; 
but they that are not holy cannot see God. A pure eye only can 
see a pure God. As the eye which hath dust in it without, or thick 
vapours stopping the nerves within, cannot see, except it be cleansed 
from the one and purged from the other, so a man, the eye of whose 
mind is clouded with the mist of sin, cannot behold God till he be 
cleansed. The Christian's happiness in heaven consisteth in such 
a vision of God as shall make him like God, 1 John iii. 2 ; but a 
dusky glass cannot represent an image. When the Sun of right- 
eousness shall shine upon a pure crystal glass, a clean unspotted 
soul, it will cause a glorious reflection indeed. 

To wind up this fourth subject of consideration. Eeader, affairs 
of absolute, indispensable necessity should, like weighty things, 
make a deep impression upon thy spirit. Urge thy soul often with 
this, that of all things in the world regeneration is the one thing 
necessary. Let conscience press it on thee, I must be converted or 
condemned ; here is the word of the living God for it, and such a 
word as cannot possibly go unfulfilled. Oh my soul, what sayest 
thou to it ? Except thou art born again, thou canst not see the 
kingdom of God. There is a necessity of thy turning in time, or 
burning eternally. How Malt thou answer this text, and many 
more, in the other world ? Canst thou think to make the infinite 
God a liar, and in despite of him and his word to escape hell ? Oh 
do not deceive thyself ! God will be true, though every man be a 

^ XiopU oil, the masculine article, slieweth that it is to be referred to ayiaafios. — 
3Ir Man ton on Judc, p. 38. 

VOL. V, N 


liar ; therefore set about this work, that is thus absolutely needful, 
before thou art irrecoverably woeful. 

Friend, I would advise thee to do as the patriarchs did. Joseph 
had told them, that ' except your younger brother come with you, 
ye shall not see my face,' Gen. xliii. 3-5. Jacob their father would 
have them, notwithstanding this express assertion, to venture into 
Joseph's presence without their brother. But what said Judah ? 
'The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see 
my face except your brother be with you. If thou wilt send our 
brother with us, we will go down ; but if thou wilt not send him, 
we will not go down ; for the man said unto us. Ye shall not see my 
face except your brother be with you.' So do thou consider, and 
lay it home to thy soul, that the great God of heaven and earth 
hath said, that except regeneration be with thee, be in thee, thou 
shalt not see his face with comfort ; and though thy deceitful heart 
and the devil may wish thee to venture into his presence in the 
other world without it, yet do thou reply. The almighty and faithful 
God hath solemnly protested unto me, that except regeneration be 
with me, I shall not see him face to face, and enjoy the beatifical 
vision. Therefore if I be regenerated, I will go and look death, 
judgment, God, and Christ in the face with courage and comfort ; 
but if I be not regenerated, I may not go, lest I die, lest I be 
damned eternally ; for God hath said unto me, ' Follow after holi- 
ness, without which no man shall see the Lord.' 


The fifth subject of consideration, Tlie equity of regeneration^ or 

living to God. 

Fifthly, Consider the equity and reasonableness of that which 
God requireth of thee. I shall now appeal to thine own conscience 
whether there be not all the reason in the world that thy main 
work night and day should be to please and glorify the Lord ; if 
all come from him, should not the honour of all be given to him ? 
If he be infinite in wisdom, should he not in all his providences be 
adored ? If he be infinitely faithful, should he not in all his pro- 
mises be believed ? If he be the first cause, should he not in all 
his precepts be obeyed ? If he be infinitely holy, should he not in 
all our approaches to him be reverenced ? If he be infinitely just 
and powerful, should he not in all his threatenings be feared ? If 

Chap. XVI.] by the key of regenekation. 195 

he be infinitely gracious and perfect, should he not be heartily 
loved ? 

Kelio-ion is the hig-hest reason, therefore conversion is called con- 
viction, John xvi. 10. When a man's mouth is stopped, and 
his mind fully satisfied of the reason of living to God, that he hath 
nothing to object against it, then he is convinced. The offering 
up of thy soul and body unto God as a living sacrifice is called 
rational or reasonable service, Rom. xii. 1. 

I shall offer thee three or four questions, and I do verily believe 
that if thou seriously consider them, thou canst not but be con- 
vinced that there is all the reason in the world that thou shouldst 
presently turn from sin unto God. 

First, Is there not all the reason in the world that the work 
should be for the service and honour of the workman ? that he 
who planted the vineyard should eat of the fruit of it ? that he 
who made thee should be served by thee ? He who owneth the 
ground and buildeth a house may rationally expect the benefit 
and use of it. May not God, thy landlord, who hath reared and 
set up thine earthly tabernacle, appoint what conditions he pleaseth 
in the lease which he granteth thee, how his own house should be 
employed, not to such and such sordid sinful uses, but to the ser'- 
vice and glory of his Majesty ? Is it rational that God's house 
should be employed to the devil's use ? 

Thy creation is such a tie to subjection that thou canst never 
answer it. ' Serve the Lord with gladness ; he hath made us, and 
not we ourselves.' David's prayer is to this purpose, ' Thine hands 
have made me and fashioned me, give me understanding that I 
may keep thy commandments,' Ps. cxix. 73, and xcv. 6 ; Isa. 
xliii. 7. Let thy conscience be judge ; wouldst not thou esteem it 
injustice for another to have the honour and use of thy works, or of 
thine own house ? The law, which is built upon reason, gives thee 
the service of thine own goods, houses, and lands ; and why shall 
not God have thy service ? With what face canst thou deny him 
that sowed liberty to reap ? 

Secondly, Is there not all the reason in the world, that he who 
lives wholly at another's cost and charge, that is fed, clothed, pre- 
served night and day, protected at home and abroad, supplied with all 
necessaries, relieved in all his exigencies, delivered in all his extre- 
mities by another, should live wholly to him, and do him service ? 
Dost thou not know that thy being and all thy comforts depend 

on God every moment ? that every bit of bread, every breath of 

air, every hour's sleep, nay, every minute's abode on this side hell, is 


altogether from his bounty and mercy ? that thou canst not speak 
a word, nor think a thought, nor Hft a hand, nor stir a foot, nor 
open thine eyes to see, or thy mouth to eat or drink, without him ? 
It is his visitation that preserveth thy spirit, Job x. 12. In him 
thou livest, movest, and hast thy being. He is thy shield to defend 
thee from evil ; many mischiefs would daily befall thee ; men 
would kill thee, devils would drag thee to hell ; — oh, how they long 
for thee, and how ready are they to seize thee, — did not the Lord 
curb and restrain them. Alexander told his soldiers, I wake that 
ye may sleep. Sure I am, he that preserveth thee never slum- 
bereth nor sleepeth. The Lord is the captain of thy life-guard to 
protect thee, and thy sun to refresh thee, and, therefore, dost thou 
not owe him the glory of those mercies which his free grace be- 
stoweth on thee ! Thou dost a little under God for the feeding and 
clothing of thy children and servants, and therefore thinkest that 
no duty, no service, is great enough for thee. Oh how infinitely 
art thou bound to God for all thy time, health, strength, food, 
raiment, house, friend, and every good thing that thou enjoyest ! 
and yet may not God look that thou shouldst make it thy business 
to serve, please, and glorify him ! It was a good vow of holy 
Jacob, ' If the Lord will be with me, and keep me in the way that 
I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so 
that I come again to my father's house in peace, then shall the 
Lord be my God,' Gen. xxviii. 20, 2L Truly do thou say, as he 
did. Since the Lord is the God that keepeth me in all my ways, 
that gives me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, he shall be my 
God. Oh do not give him ever cause to complain : ' Hear, 
heaven, and give ear, earth, I have nourished and brought up a 
child, and he hath rebelled against me,' Isa, i. 2. 

Thirdly, Is there not all the reason in the world, that wares, or 
houses, or any other thing, should be for the use and service of him 
that paid a dear price for them ? If thou shouldst buy a beast at 
a high rate, thou wouldst think thou couldst never have service 
enough of him. Friend, thou didst cost the blood of the Son of 
God. Jesus Christ bought thy service at a dear rate. Thou art 
not thine own, thou art bought with a price ; therefore glorify God 
in thy body and spirit, for they are his, 1 Cor. vi. 20. Thou needest 
not grudge the Lord Jesus thy time, and talents, thy thoughts, 
and words, and estate, and the utmost which thou art able to do. 
Alas ! he paid dearly for it. He died that he might be lord of dead 
and living ; that whether we live, we should live unto the Lord ; 
or die, we should die unto him, Horn. xiv. 7, 8. Oh, how little is 

Chap. XVI.] by the key of regeneration. 197 

thy service wortb, that Christ should purchase it with such an in- 
finite sum ! 

We say of some chikh-en, they had need to be dutiful children ; 
they cost their mothers dear, many sharp throes, and great danger 
of death. Oh, how dutiful hadst thou need to be, who didst cost 
Christ such hard labour, such throes from God and men, death 
and devils ! Thou art never able to conceive what a price thy 
Eedeemer paid, what pain he suffered, to procure thy service ; and 
wilt thou deny the Lord that bought thee ? Pliny saith that blood 
will quench fire ; should not the blood of Jesus Christ quench the fire 
of thy lusts ? In all countries the ransomer of a bondman is to 
be his lord. No slavery so great as thine was, no price ever paid so 
great for liberty ; therefore no service so great as that which thou 
owest. If thou hadst done all that he commandeth thee, thou 
hadst done but thy duty, and mightst say thou wert an un})rofit- 
able servant ; what art thou then that never didst anything ? Oh 
think of it seriously ! Kederaption by the blood of the Saviour is 
a bloody obligation to service, and if thou continuest a rebel it will 
be a bloody aggravation of thy sin. What evil hath Christ done 
to thee, that thou walkest contrary to him ? Ah, friend, to render 
good for evil is divine ; but to render evil for good is devilish. 

Fourthly, Is there not all the reason in the world, that he who 
hath bound himself apprentice to a master, promised solemnly to 
be his faithful servant, sealed indentures before witness, engaged 
himself by vows, covenants, protestations, and oaths, should per- 
form his promises, and walk in everything answerable to his bonds 
and obligations ? Wast not thou in baptism solemnly dedicated 
to the service of God ? Did not thy parents seal the indenture on 
thy part before the Lord, angels, and men, that thou shouldst live 
according to the laws, and for the glory of the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost ? Hast not thou listed thyself under the colours of 
Christ, the captain of thy sa;lvation, and sacredly tied thyself to 
obey his commands, and to fight under his banner against the 
devil, world, and flesh ? and wilt thou run from thy colours, and 
turn to thine enemies, and conspire and fight against Jesus Christ ? 
It was a custom in the primitive times, that such as were baptized 
did wear a white stole,^ a ceremony signifying the purity of life 
which the baptized were to lead. Now there was one Elpidophorus, 
who after his baptism turned a persecutor. Muritta, the minister 
who baptized him, brought forth in public the white stole 
which Elpidophorus had worn at his baptism, and cried unto 
^ Fulgentes animas vestis quoque Candida siguat. 


him, Elpidophorus ! this stole do I keep against thy coming to 
judgment to testify thy apostasy from Christ. So be thou assured 
the water with which, the minister by whom, the people before 
whom, thou wast baptized, will rise up against thee in judgment 
if thou dost not walk in newness of life. Luther speaks of one 
that, when tempted by the devil to sin, answered that she was bap- 
tized, and could not yield to him. Remember that thou hast re- 
ceived thy Saviour's press-money, and therefore mayest not fight 
Satan's battles. Wast thou never partaker of the Lord's supper ? 
Didst thoa not then with John stand by the cross of Jesus Christ, 
and behold his blessed body bleeding under the knife of his 
Father's wrath ? how it was wounded for thy transgressions, 
bruised for thine iniquities ; when thou didst take a sacred oath to 
be the death of those sins which were the death of our Saviour, 
and to live to him that died for thee ; when thou didst espouse 
Christ and his quarrel to thyself, and engage to live and die with 
him ; and canst thou, like a dishonest wife, run a-whoring after 
thy heart-idols, and forget the covenant of thy God ? 

Was there not a time when thou didst lie upon a sick-bed, and 
in thine own apprehension wast nigh the gate of death, when thy 
sinful fleshly life began to fly in thy face ? and oh the thoughts 
which thou liadst concerning thine appearance before God in the 
other world, and thine endless estate there, when thou didst pray 
hard, Oh spare me a little. Lord, spare me a little, that I may get 
some grace, some spiritual strength, before I go hence and be no 
more seen ! when thou didst promise, oh if God would then hear 
thee, and try thee a little longer in this world, thou wouldst turn 
over a new leaf, lead a new life, forbear thy former corruptions and 
evil companions, mind the service and glory of the infinite God, 
and thine own eternal good ? And is all this nothing, now God 
hath heard thee and delivered thee ? Shouldst not thou now hear 
him and obey him ? Did thy sick-bed promises die when thou 
didst recover ? Oh, follow David's practice, ' I will go into thy 
house with burnt-offerings ; I will pay thee my vows, which my lips 
have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken when I was in distress,' 
Ps. Ixvi. 13, 14, and cxvi. 3, 4, 9. 

Theodoricus, archbishop of Colon, when the Emperor Sigismund 
demanded of him the most compendious way to happiness, made 
answer in brief, thus : Perform when thou art well what thou 
didst promise when thou wast sick.^ Friend, look back upon the 
time when the guilt of thy sins perplexed thee, the fear of death 

' iEnead. Syl., lib. ii. com. de reb. Alphon. 

Chap. XVI,] by the key of regeneeation. 199 

surprised thee, and the horror of hell began to lay hold on thee, 
and remember the promises which then thou didst make ; and as 
ever thou wouldst have God trust thee again, be true to thy word ; 
be not as the marble, watery and moist in stormy weather, and yet 
still retain thy hardness. 

These are, I suppose, rational questions, and surely thou canst 
not but be satisfied of the equity in them. Well, art thou re- 
solved to obey the counsel of God, and to live like a rational 
creature ? Surely here is a threefold, nay, a fourfold cord, which 
is not easily broken. Canst thou slip those oaths as easily as 
monkeys do their collars ? and break these bands in sunder, as 
Samson did his cords ? Oh consider, that man was possessed 
with a devil, whom no cords could hold ! and without question 
thou art also, if such bonds, oaths, obligations as these are cannot 
hold thee, do not draw thee to the Lord, and bind thee to his com- 

To end this first help to holiness, which is serious consideration, 
I must request thee to read it again, and weigh the particulars 
which I have offered to thee. If thou wilt ever be taken, I should 
think that one of these baits should catch thee : either that the 
necessity of regeneration should drive thee, or the felicity of the re- 
generate draw thee, or the misery of the unregenerate affright 
thee, or the equity of regeneration persuade thee, unto holiness. 

Here are all sorts of arguments imaginable. If thou art inge- 
nuous, here is love and mercy to melt thee ; if thou art stubborn, 
here is endless and easeless misery to move thee ; if thou art for 
the best things, here is excellency for to allure thee ; if thou art 
for rational, here is equity to prevail with thee. 

Friend, what shall I say to thee ? or wherewith shall I over- 
come thee ? Hath not the world conquered thee with arguments 
which had not, the thousandth part of that weight which the 
least of these hath ? And shall not thy maker, preserver, redeemer, 
prevail with thee, by setting before thee the horror of hell, the 
happiness of heaven, the beauty of his image, the reasonableness of 
his service, and the indispensable necessity of thy being his ser- 
vant ? Is it possible that thy soul, so closely besieged round 
about with fear, and fury, and fire, on the one side ; with favour, 
and love, and life, on the other side, should not surrender unto 
Christ ? What objection canst thou have which here is not an- 
swered ? what good canst thou desire which here is not offered ? 
and why wilt thou not yield ? 

It is thy privilege that thou art a subject capable of God's 


image ; it was man's primitive purity, that he was adorned with 
the image of his maker. Ah, what a glorious shining piece was 
he when he came newly out of God's mint ! Gen. i. 26 ; John iii. 6 ; 
Gen. vi. 9 ; Col. iii. 10 ; Ps. svii. 15. It is mcin's unspeakable 
misery that he hath lost God's image ; his recovery here consist- 
eth in having God's image imprinted on him in part ; and his 
felicity and perfection hereafter, in having this image stamped on 
him fully and completely. And canst thou then be unwilling to be 
made like unto the blessed God ? Surely sin hath bound thee 
strongly, and Satan possessed thee strangely, if none of these things 
overcome thee. Friend, art thou not desirous to fare well in the 
other world ? Then ponder these subjects of consideration seri- 
ously and frequently when thou liest down, and when thou risest 
up ; when thou goest out, and when thou comest in ; thou little 
thinkest what such serious frequent thoughts may produce. Whilst 
David was musing a fire was kindled within him, Ps. xxxix. Con- 
sider what I have said, and the Lord give thee understanding in 
all things. 


The second help to regeneration : An observation or knoioledge of 
those several steps ivherehy the Spirit of God reneweth other 
souls, and a pliable can^iage aiid submission to its luorkings and 

I come now to the second help which I promised towards holi- 
ness and regeneration, and that will branch itself forth into these 
two particulars : 

First, An observation or knowledge of those several steps, 
whereby the Spirit bringeth home wandering sheep into the fold 
of Christ. 

Secondly, A pliable submission to the workings and motions of 
the Holy Ghost, as at any time he maketh his addresses unto 

For the first of these, thou art to understand that conversion is 
not wrought all together and at once, but by degrees. As in the 
generation of a child, first the bi'ain, heart, and liver, is framed, 
next the bones, sinews, nerves, and arteries, then the flesh is added. 
So in regeneration, first the sinner hath the seed of repentance and 
faith in the sense of his sins and misery, and the sight of the mercy of 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of kegeneeation. 201 

God in Christ, then some desires after Christ, next some affiance 
on Christ, and after these a hearty acceptance of Christ as Lord 
and Saviour. 

The match between Christ and the soul is not huddled up in 
haste. Christ first goeth a-wooing. The Father offereth a large 
portion with his Son. The creature considereth his terms : how 
lovely his person is, what his precepts will be, what advantage he 
shall have by the marriage ; and by a deep and powerful energy 
of the Spirit, consenteth to take him for his lord and husband. 

First, The first step is illumination. The Spirit of God doth in 
the first place open the eyes of the blind, and turn men from dark- 
ness to light — here is illumination ; and then from the power of 
Satan to God — here is regeneration. Acts xxvi. 18. Before the 
Sun of righteousness ariseth on the soul, there is daybreak of light 
in the understanding. John Baptist, who was the forerunner of 
Christ, and sent to prepare his way before him, did it by giving 
knowledge of salvation, Luke i. 76, 77. 

It is observable, that in the covenant of grace the mind is still 
spoken of to be renewed before the heart, Heb. x. 8, 9 ; Jer. xxxi. 
33. For it is by the understanding that grace slips down into the 

Satan indeed, that cruel jailer, secures his captives in the dark 
dungeon of ignorance. They are ' strangers to the life of God, 
through the ignorance that is in them,' Eph. iv. 18. When that 
uncircumcised Philistine hath taken away Samson prisoner, the 
first thing he doth is to put out his eyes ; when this is done he 
can make sport enough with him. The evil spirit strikes men 
blind, as the Syrians were, and then leads them whither he 
pleases ; but the good Spirit opens their eyes, and sheweth them 
that they are in their enemy's hands, liable every moment to be 
murdered, and then sets bread and water before them. Conver- 
sion is called a translation out of darkness into marvellous light, 
1 Pet. ii. 3. 

The sinner travelleth in the dark night of his natural estate^ and 
mistaketh his way, he loseth himself in the mist of ignorance ; 
but when the morning cometh the man seeth that he hath gone in 
a wrong path, then he befools, and is displeased with himself, and 
turneth about. All the while the creature hath his understanding 
darkened he walketh in the way of the flesh and the world, and 
believeth that to be the right way to happiness ; but when the 
Spirit of God enlighteneth the mind, the man seeth that he was 
exceedingly mistaken, begins to wonder at his own folly and wick- 


edness, to abhor himself and change his course. ' I will bring the 
blind by a way which they knew not ; I will lead them in paths 
that they have not known ; I will make darkness light before them ;' 
then what followeth ? ' they shall be turned back, they shall be 
greatly ashamed,' Isel xlii. 16, 17. 

Till the understanding of a man be enlightened to see the defor- 
mity of sin, and the beauty of holiness, he will never heartily loathe 
and grieve for the former, love and long for the latter. As it is in 
some hot climates, though the sun shine very hot there, yet when 
there is no entrance for it into men's houses, it will not scorch or 
heat the inhabitants. Sin is of a scorching nature ; but when the 
understanding, which is the window into the house, is kept shut, 
that it can have no entrance into the heart, no wonder if the sinner 
feel no pain. 

God hath made the same organ for seeing and weeping. It is 
the eye of knowledge which affects the heart. They shall see him 
whom they have pierced, and mourn, Zech. xii. 10. Sight of sin 
doth precede sorrow for sin. As soon as ever the infant cometh 
into the light, it crieth ; though all the time it was in the dark 
prison of the mother's womb, it was quiet. 

Secondly, The second step which the Spirit takes is conviction 
to convince the sinner, John xvi. 9, 10. The sun, which before did 
enlighten his mind, doth now slide down with its heating and 
scorching beams into the conscience. That knowledge which the 
sinner had of his sins before was speculative, but now become 
practical, making sin like a lump of lead upon tender flesh, that 
the conscience is exceedingly pressed and oppressed with it. 

Conviction is the application of the nature of sin, and danger of 
sinners, to himself in particular, which before he knew in the 
general. As in the twilight, before the sun ariseth, a man may see 
abroad, but he cannot see in his own house ; but when the sun 
ariseth a man may see both abroad and at home within his own 
doors ; so before the Spirit approacheth the soul in a way of convic- 
tion, the sinner could see abroad ; he knew that the soul that sinneth 
must die ; that they which do such and such things cannot inherit 
the kingdom of God. He knew these things in the general, but he 
could not see in his own house, in his own heart, that he himself 
was a great sinner, a dead, a damned creature ; for though he 
would in his prayers acknowledge that he had broken the law, and 
was thereby liable to the wrath of the Lord, yet he did it but cus- 
tomarily and formally, not believing what he spake ; for should an- 
other man come to him and tell him, friend, you daily provoke 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of regeneration. 203 

God, and are every hour in danger of hell, he would fly in his face 
and tell others that he was a very uncharitable man, and all because 
the sinner could not see in his own house. But when the Sun of 
righteousness ariseth, the sinner can see within as well as without 
doors ; he seeth the heinous nature of his own sins, and the grievous 
danger of his own soul. 

The Spirit of Glod convinceth the sinner of four things. 

First, The Spirit convinceth him of his great and innumerable 
corruptions. The man before knew in the general that all have 
sinned, and come short of the glory of God, and would confess 
himself a sinner formally and slightly ; but now he feels himself a 
sinner, and finds experimentally that he is a polluted, poisoned 
creature. The Spirit of God holdeth the glass of the law before 
the eyes of his soul, and makes him, whether he will or no, see 
what dirt and deformity is in the face of his heart and life. With- 
out the law there is no transgression, and without the knowledge 
of the law there will be no conviction. As one of the persecutors 
in the days of Queen Mary, searching a house for a protestant, 
asked an old woman in the house, Where is the heretic ? She 
points to a chest of linen, uj)on which stood a looking-glass, and 
bid him look there and he should see him. He looked there, and 
still asked, Where is he ? She meant that he himself was the 
heretic, and in the glass he might see himself. So before the Holy 
Ghost came to convince this sinner, if the minister at any time had 
preached against pride, unbelief, carnal-mindedness, hypocrisy, and 
the like, his voice was. Where are these men ? Surely the minister 
meets with such and such in his sermon ! But now the Spirit in 
his conscience speaketh to him, what Nathan did to David, Thou 
art the man. Thou art the proud, carnal, hypocritical, cursed 
sinner, which the word of God meaneth, and the man cannot deny 
it. The Holy Ghost pulls off his rags and jjlasters, and makes him 
see all his nakedness and sores ; it lanceth his wounds before his 
eyes, and now he beholdeth the venomous matter and corruptions 
which is in them, that he little thought of before. 

Formerly he esteemed himself to be sound, comparing himself 
with them that were worse, or not minding the inward meaning 
and extent of the law of God ; but now by the law the Spirit brings 
him to the knowledge of sin, Rom. vi. 7. It sheweth him the 
depravation of his nature, how full it is of pollution, even as full 
as ever toad was of poison ; how empty it is of all good ; nay, what 
an enemy it is to God and godliness. It sheweth him the abomi- 
nations of his heart, how the imaginations and thoughts of his 


heart have been evil, only evil, and that continually ; the provoca- 
tions of his life, how full that hath been of lusts and sins, even as 
the firmament of stars. It sheweth him the evil of his thoughts, of 
his words, of his deeds ; his omissions in his closet, in his family ; 
his commissions abroad, at home. It sheweth him his idolatry, in 
setting up self as his God, in bowing down to it, and worshipping 
it ; his adultery in going a- whoring after the creatures, loving, 
fearing, and trusting them more than the Creator, who is blessed 
for ever. It sheweth him how he hath dishonoured the name of 
God, grieved the Spirit of God, undervalued the Son of God, vio- 
lated every command of God ; how he hath sinned against the first 
command, in not worshipping and glorifying God as the only true 
God and as his God, and in giving that honour to others which is 
due to him alone ; against the second, in not worshipping God 
according to the word, but according to the traditions of others, or 
his own inventions ; against the third, in not reverencing the name, 
word, and works of God ; against the fourth, in not sanctifying the 
Sabbath to God's service, but profaning it, either by idleness, or 
worldly labours, or omission of duties and ordinances ; against the 
fifth, in not carrying himself according to his duty towards them 
that are above him, equal to him, or below him ; against the sixth, 
seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth, in wronging his neighbours, 
either in regard of life, chastity, goods, name, relations, either in 
thought, words, or actions. 

It sheweth him the darkness of his understanding, the stubborn- 
ness of his will, the disorderedness of his affections, the hardness 
of his heart, the searedness of his conscience, the misimprovement 
of his outward parts ; how his eyes have beheld vanity, his ears 
been open to iniquity, all his senses been thoroughfares to sin, all 
the members of his body instruments of unrighteousness ; how 
from the crown of the head to the soles of his feet there is no sound 
part in him, nothing but wounds, bruises, and putrified sores. 

It is not one or two sins that trouble this sinner, but innumerable 
evils compass him about; whole swarms of these bees fly in his 
face and sting his conscience. It may be one sin did first set upon 
him, some sin against the light which God had given him, and 
now that creditor hath cast him into prison, all the rest come and 
clap their actions upon him to keep him there ; his sins in his 
dealings with men, in his duties to God ; his sins against season- 
able corrections, against merciful dispensations ; his sins against 
the motions of God's Spirit, against the conviction of his own 
spirit, against light, love, purposes, promises ; they all compass the 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of regekekation. 205 

sinner round that he cannot escape. Now he sees the ugly loath- 
someness of his lusts, how they are against an infinite God, against 
a righteous law, against a precious soul ; how by reason of them 
he is wholly unlike God, and become the very picture of the devil ; 
and truly now he is far from having those flattering thoughts of 
himself, and favourable thoughts of his sins, which formerly he 
had. For sin's part, it is abounding, polluting, poisonous, sinful 
sin. He seeth the wrinkles of this Jezebel's face under her paint ; 
and oh how ugly is she in his eyes ! And for himself, he is more out 
of love than ever he was in love with himself. Some say after they 
have had the small-pox, that they come to see themselves in a 
glass, they look so ugly by reason of their spots that they cannot 
endure to see themselves. Truly this poor sinner, beholding him- 
self in the glass of the law, and viewing those hellish spots of sin all 
over his soul and body, he abhorreth himself in dust and ashes. 

This is the first thing the Spirit convinceth the soul of, and that 
is sin : ' When he is come, he shall convince the world of sin,' 
John xvi. 8. God never cured a spiritual leper but he caused him 
to fall down first and cry out, Unclean, unclean. 

Secondly, The Spirit convinceth him of his miserable and dread- 
ful condition. Now the commandments of God come to the soul, 
sin reviveth, and the sinner dieth. He thought before that he was 
whole, a sound man, to have little need of a physician ; but now he 
both seeth his sores and feeleth his wounds. 

Ministers before had frequently told him of his dangerous, 
damnable estate, but he had a shield to keep off all their darts. 
He was not so bad as they took him to be ; somewhat they must 
say for their money. And besides, though he were as bad as such 
precise, censorious preachers would make him to be, yet God was a 
merciful God, and Jesus Christ died for sinners, and he hoped to 
be saved as well as the best of them. But now God comes to him 
as he did to Adam after his fall, ' Adam, where art thou ? Hast 
thou eaten of the tree of which I said unto thee thou shalt not 
eat ? ' Sinner, where art thou ? Dost thou know what thou art 
doing, and whither thou art going ? How darest thou profane my 
day, blaspheme my name, scoff at my people, neglect my worship, 
cast my laws behind thy back, and hate to be reformed ? Darest 
thou provoke the Lord to anger ? Art thou stronger than he ? 
How will thine heart endure, or thine hands be strong, in the day 
that I shall deal with thee ? Dost not know, poor dry stubble, 
that it is a fearful thing to fall into my hands ? for I am a con- 
suming fire. Now the sinner heareth the voice of God, and is 


afraid. Alas, alas ! thinks lie, I am a dead, a damned man ; the 
almighty God is angry ; the weight of my sins at present is heavy ; 
but the sufferings which I am every moment liable to, are infinite 
and eternal. Oh that I should ever be born to do as I have done ! 
Now the lightnings of divine fury flash in his eyes, and the cannons 
of the law's curses thunder in his ears ; he seeth a sharp sword of 
pure wrath hanging by a slender thread of life over his head ; he 
feeleth the stingings of his sins, those fiery serpents, at his heart. 
There is no rest in his flesh because of God's anger, nor quietness 
in his bones because of his sins. The arrows of the Almighty are 
within him, and the poison thereof drinks up his spirit ; the waves 
and billows of God go over his soul, and he sinketh in deep waters ; 
God writeth bitter things against him, and makes him to possess 
the sins of his youth. Now the man is calmed, he will hear what 
God speaketh : before, though God himself had told him out of his 
word what a wicked wretched man he was, he would not mind it, 
but storm and rage at it ; he was like a wild ass snuffing up the 
wind, and as an untamed heifer impatient of the yoke ; he would 
kick and fling like a madman. What ! he give credit to the 
doctrine, and submit to the severe discipline of a few whimsical 
puritans, that must be wiser than all their neighbours ! No, not 
he, though they shewed him the very hand of God in Scripture to 
those warrants which they desired him to obey. But now he is of 
another mind, for the law hath shut him up under sin and guilt, 
Gal. iii. 22. The law hath pent him in and shut him up that he 
cannot possibly get out. As lions, bears, and wild beasts are tamed 
by being shut up and kept in, so the law causeth wrath, Kom. iv. 
15, shuts the sinner up under it, and keeps him in, that his former 
starting-holes cannot help him ; and thereby tames him. 

While he was convinced of his sins and misery, his conscience 
was seared, not troubled at all the threatenings which were de- 
nounced against him ; but now his conscience is sore, touch it which 
way you will, you put him to pain ; tell him under this conviction 
of his drunkenness, or swearing, or atheism, or eagerness after this 
world, and heartlessness about the things of the other world, his 
neglecting God in secret, of not instructing and praying with his 
family ; tell him how cold and customary he was in his devotion, 
saying to others that they took more pains for heaven than they 
needed to do ; of his justifying himself in his transgressions, and 
taking part with Satan against his own soul ; he crieth, guilty, 
guilty, when such bills of indictment are read against him ; but 
every word in them is a deep wound to him ; the wolf in the 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of eegenekation. 207 

breast, and worms in tlie belly, do not cause half that pain which 
his wickedness doth by gnawing in his conscience. Tell him of the 
gospel, how infinitely merciful God is, and how inconceivably meri- 
torious Christ is, and how freely the glad tidings of the gospel are 
offered to all. Oh, this toucheth him to the quick ! the sword of the 
gospel cuts him more to the heart than the sword of the law. Oh, 
saith he, this, this is my death ; were it not for this, I should have 
some hopes of life ; but, alas ! T have abused mercy, which is the 
only friend I have left ; I have despised Christ, and neglected the 
great salvation which was tendered to me in the gospel. Vile 
creature that I am ! mercy, love, and grace came many a time 
wooing me. How did Jesus Christ himself with pardon and life 
come beseeching me, begging of me to open my heart and let him 
in ; and yet, cursed wretch that I was, I denied him ! When the 
world could lie warm in my bosom all night, and sin get a good 
room in my soul, yet my Saviour must stand without, and not be 
thought worthy to be let in ! I have most unworthily spurned 
against his bowels of compassion, scorned his sweetest and most 
affectionate persuasions, most desperately refused the only means of 
my recovery ; and therefore I, what shall 1 do ? whither shall I 
go ? If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him ; 
but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him ? 
1 Sam. ii. 25. If I had sinned only against my Creator, my Re- 
deemer might have satisfied for me ; but I, wretched I, have sinned 
against my Redeemer, and therefore who shall entreat for me ? 
Oh the frights, and fears, and horrors, and terrors, which this poor 
creature suffereth under the sight and sense of his sins and guilt ! 
but the forethoughts of an everlasting miscarriage in the other 
world sinks him quite down, that he is able to hold up no longer. 
Thus the Spirit first plougheth up the fallow-ground of the heart, 
before he casteth into it the seed of grace. He first captivates the 
sinner, and brings him into a spiritual dungeon, under chains of 
guilt and horror, that the very irons enter into his soul, before he 
proclaimeth liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to 
them that are bound, Isa. Ixi. 1, 2. Some indeed are brought 
lower than others with legal terror ; but surely not a few have 
sailed to heaven by the very gates of hell. God is resolved that 
men shall feel sin either here or hereafter. 

Thirdly, The Spirit convinceth him of the impotency and weak- 
ness of all the things in the world to help him, that in the whole 
garden of nature there is never an herb which can make a salve to 
heal his wounded conscience. Now the sinner is scorched with the 


lieat of God's wrath ; he is like a man in a burning fever, full of 
pain, and he tumbleth and tosseth from one side of the bed to the 
other, trying and hoping for ease ; he goeth to this carnal comfort, 
or that human help, to have his pain abated, and his sores cured ; 
but none of them will do ; as fast as he claps on those carnal 
plasters, the Spirit causeth his conscience to rub them off. 

It may be first the man usetli foreign drugs ; he being troubled 
in conscience, goeth with Cain to the building of cities, to earthly 
employments, that the noise of the hammers might drown the 
voice of conscience ; that his mind and body being occupied about 
other things, conscience might have no time nor leisure to proceed 
in preaching its cutting lectures ; or else, like Saul, he runneth to 
his music, to carnal contentments, to merry meetings, jovial com- 
panions, his preferment or pleasures in the world, or some carnal 
diversion, if it be possible to turn the water of his thoughts into 
another channel, and so keep that mill from going which makes 
such a clacking dreadful noise in his ears, and threateneth to grind 
him to powder. Thus sinfully foolish is man ; as soon as ever a 
fire is kindled in his soul, Avhich would aspire to heaven, he runneth 
with his buckets to earthly springs, and fetcheth water thence to 
quench it ; the throes of the new birth do no sooner come upon 
him, but he, like some simple woman, takes cooling things, which 
cause his labour to go back again. But the Holy Ghost (for I am 
now speaking of one in whom the Spirit goeth through with the 
work) makes all these things empty to him ; the virtue of those 
poor cordials is soon spent, and now the man is as sick as before. 
Conscience, for all these interruptions, still follows him with this hue 
and cry by a warrant from heaven, for the breach of God's statutes, 
that the sinner can house nowhere in any of these worldly comforts, 
but conscience is at his heels, raising the town upon him, and giveth 
him no rest ; the man finds this physic but like hot water to one 
in a cold fit of an ague, which warms a little at present, but makes 
his hot fit the more violent. 

When the sinner finds that his exotical drugs will not cure 
him, he will try in the next place kitchen physic ; he will be his 
own both doctor and apothecary ; he hopeth that his praying, and 
grieving, and trouble of mind, and resolution to be better, will 
satisfy God's justice, and pacify his own conscience, and heal it 
thoroughly. Oh, how the man endeavours to lick himself whole ! 
Man is a proud creature, unwilling to beg or borrow of his neigh- 
bours, very solicitous rather to make a poor shift with what he 
hath of his own. The mariners will row hard in a storm to get to 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of regeneration. 209 

shore by their own power, before they will awake Jesus with 
Save us, Master, or we perish. 

But the Spirit convinceth him of the insufficiency of all his 
prayers, and tears, and duties to appease God, or satisfy his 
law ; the Spirit sheweth him the narrowness and shortness of all 
his rags, how they cannot possibly cover his nakedness ; con- 
science telleth him that, by his very duties, he is so far from 
paying his old score, that he runneth further in debt. Alas ! 
saith conscience, thy very duties may damn thee; he who is of 
purer eyes than to behold iniquity seeth a thousand holes in thy 
best coat ; the holy God seeth sins enough in them to send thee 
into hell for them. Canst thou, poor beggar, with thy counterfeit 
farthings, think to pay an infinite sum ? Can thy poor finite per- 
formances satisfy infinite justice for the violation of his righteous 
precepts ? And for thy resolutions of better obedience, canst thou 
think that future obedience can satisfy for former disobedience ? 
No, though thou couldst offer thousands of rams, and ten thousands 
of rivers of oil, nay, though the first-born of thy body, all these 
could not be a propitiation for one of the least sins of thy soul. 
No, no, the redemption of a soul is more precious ; for all these it 
must cease for ever. 

Thus God ferrets the sinner out of all his burrows, and causeth 
the poor prodigal, while he is wandering from his father, to find 
a famine in all the creatures. As a general that besiegeth a city, 
doth not only play in upon it with his cannons and grenadoes, but 
also secure the several passages, stop all provision, that no relief 
can come to it, then they will yield upon his terms ; so when the 
Spirit besiegeth the soul, it often plieth it hard with the batteries 
of the law, and always stoppeth relief from coming in, either from 
the world or a man's own righteousness ; and then, and not till 
then, will the creature yield upon the terms of the gospel. 

Fourth, The Spirit convinceth him of the willingness, suitable- 
ness, and all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ to help and heal him. 

The sinner now in his burning fit is very thirsty ; like Hagar, he 
sits weeping, for his bottles are empty, and his creature-comforts 
are found by experience to be broken cisterns which can hold no 
water ; he knoweth not what to do ; how can I see the death of my 
soul ? thinks he. When the sinner is brought to this strait, the 
Spirit of God openeth his eyes to see a well of salvation, even Jesus, 
who delivereth from the wrath to come. 

The Spirit discovereth to the sinner, that though his wound be 
dangerous, because the God whom he hath provoked is resolved 

VOL. V. 


either to have his law satisfied, or his eternal wrath endured, yet 
that it is not desperate, for there is balm in Gilead, and a physician 
in Israel, that can heal his soul. 

It convinceth him that Christ is a suitable help — bread to the 
hungry, water to the thirsty, rest to the weary and heavy-laden ; 
that he hath a precious salve made of his own blood, which is a 
proper and peculiar remedy for his sores. 

It convinceth him that Christ is an all-sufficient help ; that he can 
supply all the soul's wants, be they never so many, and bear all the 
soul's iniquities, be they never so weighty; that he is able to save to 
the uttermost those that come unto God by him, Heb. vii. 25. It 
presenteth to the soul his fitness and fulness in regard of his 
natures and offices, and the impossibility of his being unfaithful to 
this great work of saving poor sinners, for which he came into the 
world. It sheweth the sinner the infiniteness of Christ's merits, 
and his omnipotency to help, because he is God ; the examples 
of other wounded diseased persons, wlio surrendered themselves to 
the care of this physician and were cured. He shall convince the 
world of righteousness, ' because I go to the Father, and ye see me 
no more,' John xvi. 10 ; that is, the world shall be convinced 
that there is righteousness enough in me to satisfy both the law 
and lawgiver, in that I shall appear in my Father's presence, and 
that with acceptance. He would not send an angel as his officer 
to roll away the stone, and release the surety out of prison, the 
grave, and bring him before the judge with so much credit and 
countenance, if the law were not satisfied and the debt fully 
discharged. Heaven could never have held me ; ye would have 
seen me upon earth again, if I had not done that work perfectly 
which the Father gave me to do. ' He shall convince the world 
of righteousness, because I go to the Father.' 

It convinceth him that Jesus Christ is exceeding willing to save 
poor sinners; that he is joyful that any will accept him for their 
Saviour ; that he came from heaven to earth, was born meanly, 
lived miserably, and died shamefully, merely upon this errand, that 
he might seek and save them that are lost ; that he inviteth him to 
come to him, and promiseth that he shall be welcome ; that he calleth 
them that go from him, but casteth away none that come to him. 

Thus Avhen the prodigal is in a far country, and cannot fill his 
belly so much as with husks, that he is ready to perish for hunger, 
he is shewed and convinced that there is bread enough in his 
father's house. When the sinner is, like the Israelite in the wilder- 
ness, beholding the curse of the law like the Egyptian behind him, 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of regeneration. 211 

and pursuing him hard, the red sea of divine wrath before him, 
into which he is hastening, his crimson and bloody sins like moun- 
tains on each side of him, encompassing him round, that he know- 
eth not what to do, then the Spirit biddeth him look up to Jesus, 
and he shaU see the salvation of God. 

The third step which the Spirit takes is anhelation, to cause the 
soul of the convinced sinner to breathe and pant after Jesus Christ. 
Breath is the first effect of life. Conviction hath emptied his 
stomach of creature confidence, and self- righteousness made him 
poor in spirit, and oh how hungry he is after the righteousness of 
Jesus Christ, the bread which came down from heaven ! As the 
thirsty ground cleaves and opens for drops, as the hart panteth 
after the water-brooks, so panteth his soul after Jesus Christ, God 
blessed for ever : thinks he. Oh when shall I come and appear be- 
fore him ! His voice is, like Rachel, Give me children or I die ; 
give me the holy child Jesus or I die ; or like Abraham, Lord, 
what wilt thou give me if I go childless ? Oh what wilt thou give 
me if I go Christless ! or like the Jews to Philip, Sir, we would 
fain see Jesus. If the angel should meet him, he might bespeak 
the soul as he did the woman, * I know what thou seekest, thou 
seekest Jesus which was crucified.' Oh the ardent desires, the vehe- 
ment longings, the unutterable groans, which this poor creature 
hath after his Saviour ! as David, he crieth out. Who will give me 
to drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem ! Where is tliat blessed 
guide that can lead me, and help me to drink of the water of life ! 

Methinks I see how Jesus Christ presents himself to the eye of 
the dejected soul's understanding, in all his glory and gallantry, in 
his suitableness unto the sinner's indigencies, and sufficiency for all 
his necessities, with the freeness of his mercy, the fulness of his 
merits, the sweetness of his love ; how he appears before the soul 
with his retinue and train of graces, comforts, his blood, his Spirit, 
the favour of God, freedom from sin, wrath, hell. On the one 
hand of him there stand his gracious promises of pardon, peace, 
adoption, sanctification, heart-cheering love, and everlasting life ; 
on the other hand of him there stands his precious precepts of self- 
denial, crucifying the flesh, walking after the Spirit, despising the 
sensual pleasures, honours, and profits of this world, and delighting 
in God, walking with him, having the conversation in heaven, and 
rejoicing in hope of glory. In the middle there stands the fairest 
of ten thousands, adorned as a bridegroom with his richest attire, 
glistering with the jewels of those graces with which his humanity 
is adorned, in a greater degree than the heavens could, though 


every star in it were a glorious sun ; but oh how the diamond of his 
deity sparkleth in the soul's account, that millions of worlds would 
be but a muck- heap to it ! Ah how lovely is he in the sinner's 
eye ! How infinitely ravishing to his heart ! How blessed are 
those souls, thinks this sinner, that are interested in such a Saviour ! 
Inconceivably happy is that spouse which hath so beautiful, so ac- 
complished, so lovely, so loving a husband ; God is hers, earth is 
hers, heaven is hers, all is hers ; holiness is her nature, and happi- 
ness is her jointure. Oh that I, oh that I might be so blessed as to 
be called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb ! Who can express 
the vehement, violent longings of this man after Christ, as the load- 
stone of his affections, as the only centre of his soul, the proper re- 
medy for all his maladies ; had he the beauty of Absalom, the re- 
nown of Solomon, the wealth, the worth of the whole world, like 
the wise merchant, he would sell all to buy this pearl of price, and 
think it the best bargain that ever he made ; nothing is so dear to 
him but he will give it ; nothing is so difficult but he will do or 
suffer for Christ ; he is of the same mind with the martyr. None 
but Christ, none but Christ. It is reported of a woman that was 
in these throes, that she should say, I have brought nine children 
into the Avorld with as much pain as most women, yet I would bear 
them all over again, and bear them all my days for Christ. 

There is mention made of a bird in Egypt, near Nilus, called the 
bird of paradise, which they say, if it be once ensnared, is unquiet 
and mournful till she be delivered : so is this convinced sinner, now 
he feels himself entangled in the bond of iniquity and snares of the 
devil, he is unquiet till he be delivered. Talk to this man of his 
respect, and friends, and riches in the world, they are as the white 
of an egg, or a dry chip, without any savour, relish, or nourishment 
to him ; but tell him of Jesus Christ, an able surety to discharge 
all his debts, oh that is the savoury meat which his soul loveth. As 
a man that is sick and extremely pained, when you talk to him of 
his calling or estate, he heareth not, he regardeth not ; but tell him 
of one that can cure him of his disease, and ease him of his pain, 
then he will hearken to you ; thus it is with this sinner ; all his delight 
is in hearing of Christ, all his longing is to hear from Christ. The 
poor prisoner that is condemned to be hanged, and hath sent a mes- 
senger to sue for a pardon, never longed so much for his return with 
joyful news, as this poor creature for an interest in the Mediator. 

Thus the Spirit having convinced the soul of its beggary and 
nakedness, bondage, and misery, causeth it to breathe and long after 
the riches, liberty, and righteousness which is in Christ. 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of eegeneration. 21 S 

The fourth step is lamentation. The soul that breatheth after a 
Saviour is truly broken for his sins ; his groans after liberty are 
accompanied with grief for his slavery. Now the clouds gather and 
thicken over the soul, and fall down in tears ; his sorrow under the 
conviction of his misery was legal, but now it is for his abuse of 
mercy, and so evangelical. His heart before was as a cloud broken 
by a thunderbolt, being torn in pieces violently, and making a 
mighty noise ; but now, like the cloud melted by the shining of the 
sun upon it, it dissolves down sweetly into a fruitful shower.^ He 
looked on sin before as it was damning, as that which would cast 
his soul and body into hell ; but now he looks on sin as it is defil- 
ing, as that which makes him unlike to God, and as that by which 
he hath abused love and mercy; and the consideration of this 
warmeth his heart, and kindly thaweth it. The man hath now 
some small hope of mercy, and that, like the nearer approach of 
the sun, softeneth that earth which was hardened under the frost 
of legal terror. 

The pump of the sinner's heart was dry, till the water of gospel- 
grace, apprehended and hoped for, was poured in, and then it send- 
eth forth abundantly. He returneth now to God with supplication, 
weeping, and mourning ; as Joseph, so this sinner seeketh for a 
place to weep in ; he goeth into his chamber, falleth down before 
God, and poureth out his heart at his eyes and tongue ; he accus- 
eth, shameth, condemneth, abhorreth himself because of his sins. 
He doth not dissemble his birth, but acknowledgeth the pollution 
of his conception : ' Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did 
my mother conceive me/ Ps. li, 5 ; he confesseth the transgressions 
of his life, that he hath gone astray from the womb, Ps. Iviii. 3, 
that ever since he was able to go, he went astray ; he acknowledg- 
eth his transgressions, and is sorry for his sins ; with Ephraim, he 
smites upon his thigh, saying, What have 1 done ? with the pub- 
lican he beats on his breast, crying out, ' God be merciful unto me 
a sinner ; ' with the prodigal, he is ashamed to look up to God, yet 
sighs out, ' Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, 
and am unworthy to be called thy child.' He throweth himself 
down at God's feet, bemoaning himself thus : Lord, I am the great- 
est of sinners, less than the least of all thy mercies ; I have defaced 
thine image, broken thy laws, sinned against thy majesty ; against 
thee, thee I have sinned, and done evil in thy sight ; I have done 
the work of Satan thine enemy, and my wages is nothing but death ; 
how thou pleasest to deal with thy worthless creature I know not ; 

^ Nemo possit poenitentium agere, nisi qui speraveritindulgentiam. — Amb. 


but however thou deal with me, thou art righteous, and I will lay 
my hand on my mouth ; if thou say thou hast no pleasure in me, 
lo, here I am, do with me what seemeth good in thy sight ; yet oh 
save my soul ! Ten thousand hells are my portion ; but if out of thy 
bottomless mercy thou shalt pluck my feet out of this bottomless 
misery, my soul shall admire thy free grace, my tongue shall sing 
aloud of thy rich mercy ; and oh the obligation which this vile 
wretch shall have to be faithfully and uprightly serviceable to thy 

His contrition runneth all along parallel with his confession ; his 
heart worketh more than his lips and hands ; his affections are 
much more self-abasing and humbling than his expressions. He 
seeth him whom he hath pierced, and mourneth ; Calvary is a Bo- 
chim, a place of weeping to him ; his eyes are so full, that though 
Christ be nigh him, yet, like Mary, he cannot see him for tears. 
Never fountain sent forth water more freely than this sinner doth 
godly sorrow ; when he considereth what he hath done, how he 
hath sinned, what a God he hath grieved, sorrow and grief over- 
whelm his spirit. 

The fifth step is implantation into Christ ; the Spirit now lead- 
eth the child by the hand unto Christ, nay, grafteth him into 
Christ. The soul being convinced of the necessity it stands in of 
Christ, of the endless misery which it must undergo without Christ, 
of the all-sufficiency that is in Christ, how willing, how able he is 
to bind up the broken heart, and to save the sinful soul, doth by 
the help of the Holy Ghost venture itself, and its everlasting estate, 
upon Jesus Christ, resolving to stand or fall, live or die, at his feet. 

The sinner is now between hope and fear, not knowing how he 
shall fare. As the four lepers that were shut out of the city in the 
famine of Samaria, considered with themselves, ' If we enter into 
the city, the famine is in the city, and we die there : and if we sit 
still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall into the 
host of the Syrians : if they save us alive, we shall live ; and if 
they kill us, we shall but die,' 2 Kings vii. 3, 4 ; and accordingly 
they went to the Syrians' camp, found food there, and lived ; so 
the sinner pondereth in his heart : If I go to the world, and lying 
vanities thereof, I perish ; vanity of vanities is written upon all its 
enjoyments; the famine is there, there is nothing that is bread; 
its whole shop cannot afford a plaster which can heal my wounded 
conscience ; if I sit still in this condition, under the weight of mine 
iniquities, I perish ; they will unquestionably sink me into hell. 
Now therefore I will fall into the hands of the Lord Jesus ; if he 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of regeneration. 215 

save my soul I shall live ; if lie deny to receive such an unworthy 
wretch as I am, I shall but die, I can but perish : I will therefore 
venture. And accordingly the soul goeth to him, and findeth life 
in him. I have sometimes thought that when the sinner is come 
thus far, he carrieth himself much like Esther. When the king 
had made an irrevocable decree for the destruction of herself and 
people, what doth she do ? she fasteth and prayeth, and sendeth 
word to Mordecai, ' I will go in unto the king, which is not accord- 
ing to the law ; and if I perish, I perish,' Esther iv. 16. Thus the 
poor broken-hearted sinner, perceiving that the King of kings hath 
made a decree that the soul that sinneth shall die eternally, and 
he is a grievous sinner, he fasteth, he mourneth, he prayeth, and 
at last resolveth. Well, I will go in unto the King, though it be 
not according to the law, which shutteth me up under guilt and 
wrath : if I perish, I perish ; possibly he may hold out the golden 
sceptre of grace, and I may live in his sight. Thus the poor crea- 
ture goeth, maketh supplications believingly, and prevaileth. 

The devil now layeth all the blocks he can possibly in the soul's 
way to hinder its journey to Christ. As when the woman talked 
to her husband of going to the prophet for the enlivening of her 
dead child, he presently endeavoureth to dissuade her, that it would 
be to no purpose. Why wilt thou go ? it is neither new moon nor 
Sabbath. But yet she went, and had her child restored to life. 
Thus to what purpose shouldst thou go to Christ ? saith the devil 
to the penitent sinner. Canst thou think that so holy and righteous 
a God will have the least respect for such a wicked, notorious, hell- 
hound as thou art ? I tell thee, he hath sent thousands, that never 
sinned as thou hast done, into hell ; and canst thou have any 
thoughts of heaven ? Thou hast done my work all thy days, and 
now lookest for a reward from Grod. No, no, I will pay thee thy 
wages in blackness of darkness for ever. If thou hadst intended 
for life, thou shouldst have minded it sooner ; thou hast days 
without number broken the law, and many a time rejected the 
gospel, and now it is too late. God called, and thou wouldst not 
hear ; now thou mayest call long enough, for he will not hear thee. 
He tells thee as much with his own mouth, Prov. i. 25-32. There- 
fore thou mayest spare thy pains and prayers, for all will be to no 
purpose. Surely thou hast an impudent face and a brazen forehead 
to expect such choice blessings as pardon and life from that Christ 
whom thou hast persecuted in his people, rejected in his laws, pre- 
ferring the world and the flesh before him, and daring him to his 
very face. Thus he that was the sinner's tempter to those sins, 


turns liis tormentor for them ; and lie that, when the soul was 
posting to hell, bade it not doubt of heaven, doth, now the creature 
is creeping towards eternal life, persuade him that it is impossible 
to escape eternal death. But notwithstanding these discourage- 
ments, the sinner will go to the great Prophet of the church for the 
life of his dead soul. He thinks, it is true I am a grievous sinner, 
but I know that he is a gracious Saviour. I see nothing but misery 
and hell in me, but I see mercy and heaven in him ; for my war- 
rant I have his precept, * Come unto me all ye that labour and 
are heavy laden,' Mat. xi. 28 ; for my encouragement I have his pro- 
mise, ' I will give you rest.' ' Him that cometh unto me, I will in 
no wise cast out,' John vi. 37. I will therefore go, whatever come 
of it, and lay myself at his feet ; if he condemn me, and spurn me 
into hell, I will justify him ; perad venture he may lend me his 
hand, and raise me up with hope of heaven ; others have gone to 
him, and he hath bid them welcome. Oh the rings and robes, the 
kisses and embraces, which many returning prodigals have had of 
him ! Who knoweth but he may be gracious to me ? If he had 
not been willing that poor sinners should live, he would not have 
died ; if he had been unwilling that I should come, why doth he 
call me ? Well, whatever come of it, I will go ; it may be I may 
be hid in the day of the Lord's wrath. Thus faith at first standeth 
but on one weak foot. 

I suj)pose that when the sinner is in this condition the very 
command of God, enjoining him to believe in the name of his Son, 
is a special instrument in the hand of the Spirit to draw him unto 
Christ. Like Abraham, he being called of God, obeyed, not knowing 
whither he went ; he being called of God to cast himself on Jesus 
Christ, obeyeth, not knowing how he shall speed. 

The disciples, when they hear Christ speaking to them in the 
morning, ' Cast on the other side of the ship and ye shall find,' 
answer him, ' We have fished all night and caught nothing ; never- 
theless at thy command we will let down the net' So the penitent 
man having tried this and that means, and found no water, no 
meat, no solid food for his hungry and thirsty soul, heareth at last 
Christ calling to him, ' Ho every one that thirsteth, come to the 
waters, buy wine and milk without money and without price.' 
Cast thy sins, thy soul, on me, and thou shalt find rest. Lord, 
thinks he, I have tried creatures, and they cannot help me ; I have 
tried duties, and they cannot ease me ; I have taken much pains, 
and caught nothing ; and should I come to thee, wouldst thou open 
thine eye upon such a wretch ? My unworthiness makes me mis- 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of kegeneration. 217 

trust the success ; nevertheless at thy command I will do it. And 
now he cometh in his sinking estate to take hold on the arm of 
the Lord which the gospel stretcheth out to him, and thereby he 
is saved. 

The last step is a resolution of the sinner to give up himself to 
all the laws of Christ, or a hearty acceptation of the Kedeemer as 
Saviour and sovereign. The heart of the man is so melted by evan- 
gelical sorrow for sin, and the heat of God's love to his soul, that 
he is like soft wax for any impression ; God may command him 
what he pleaseth ; he cleaveth to the law with full purpose of heart. 
Before, he was like the prodigal, he must go as far as he could 
from his Father's house ; the orders there were too pure, the laws 
there too strict, the discipline there too severe ; he travelleth there- 
fore into a far country. But now the man is hungry ; he will 
submit to the duty of a son, so he may but have the children's 
bread and diet. Nay, now he is come to himself ; it is his meat 
and drink to do the will of God : he seeth such equity in God's 
will, such beauty in his worship, such excellency and comfort in 
his ways, that he would not part Jesus Christ and his holy precepts, 
which he now savoureth, for all earthly pleasures : he is tied so 
firmly to his master with the bond of unfeigned love, that Satan 
himself will but work at the labour-in-vain when he goeth about 
to separate him and his service. 

He writes holiness to the Lord upon his body, soul, estate, family, 
relations, and all that he hath, thankfully acknowledging God's 
propriety in all, and his own felicity to consist in improving all for 
God. He considereth how infinite his obligations to God are, what 
a hell of endless horror he is redeemed from, what a heaven of love 
and happiness he is called to, and wisheth that he had or could do 
something worthy of such a God. And because he hath nothing 
more or better, he gives himself to God : as ^Eschines, when he saw 
his fellow-scholars give their master, Socrates, large presents, being 
poor, and having nothing to give, went and gave himself to his 
master, acknowledging that he was his devoted servant. 

The sinner before was unbroken, and so as unfit for subjection 
as the unbroken colt for the saddle ; but now the heart beins: 
humbled, the ear is heedy to whatever God speaketh, ' Lord, what 
wilt thou have me to do ? ' Acts ix. 6. 

It is with a humbled and unhumbled sinner as with two men 
that are going to market, whereof the one hath need, he and his 
family are in extreme want, ready to perish for bread.^ Now this 

1 M. Fenner, of the killing power of the law. 


man will go, whatever weather come ; if it rain never so fast, he 
will go ; when he comes there, whatever the price be, he will buy ; 
though he pawn his clothes he will have bread. Why ? he is like 
to famish for want of it ; bread he comes for, and bread he must 
have. The other hath no great need ; therefore, if he like the 
weather, he will go ; if not, he will stay at home : if he goeth, 
when he comes to the market he will buy or forbear as the price 
of things pleaseth him ; he is indifferent whether he lay out his 
money or no ; if commodities are held at a high rate, he will go as 
he came, and buy nothing ; and all because he hath no need, he 
can do well enough without them. Thus a humbled sinner seeth, 
nay, feeleth his extreme need of Christ, that he must perish ever- 
lastingly without an interest in him ; and therefore, whatever it 
cost him, he will have Christ : he is resolved to deny himself, to 
crucify the flesh, to hate father, mother, house, name, land, all for 
Christ. Let God hold the price of his Son never so dear, he will 
sell all, but he will buy this pearl. And what is the reason ? 
Truly because this man hath need ; he knoweth the absolute ne- 
cessity which he standeth in of Christ ; that none but Christ can 
deliver him from the weight of his sins, the Almighty God's fury, 
and the vengeance of eternal fire ; therefore he comes for, and a 
Saviour he will have, whatever commands or prohibitions are 
joined with him. But an unhumbled sinner seeth not his extreme 
need of Christ ; and therefore, though when he heareth of the 
infinite perfections in Christ, and the unspeakable privileges which 
the regenerate have by Christ, he will acknowledge that the wares 
are good, he hath nothing to say against them, but the price is too 
dear, he will not come up to it. And why ? Truly because he 
seeth not his need of Christ ; he thinks he can do well enough with- 
out Christ. If God would let him serve Christ, and the world and 
flesh with him, he would not care much if he did buy ; but if he 
cannot have Christ at his own price, farewell Christ, and jJardon, 
and mercy, and God, and eternal life, farewell for ever for him, and 
all because the man is a whole man, unbroken, unhumbled. But 
you have read in the former steps that the sinner, before he comes 
thus far, is thoroughly melted, and therefore he is for any mould 
which God thinks good, Mat, ix. 12. 

Yet I believe that a man or woman, whom the Spirit of God 
hath brought over to Jesus Christ, doth by the new nature be- 
stowed on them, or the law of God written within them, resolve 
upon all known duties, and against all known iniquities, more 
out of love to God and holiness, than out of any slavish fear of 

Chap. XVIL] by the key of kegeneration. 219 

wrath and hell. The man seeth by the law the contrariety of 
sin to the image of God, and consequently to his own real and 
spiritual good, whereby there ariseth within him not only an 
estrangedness from, but an enmity against, sin ; though it were 
the object of his affections before, yet it is the object of his passions 
now. So for duties, the soul is brought, through working of 
the Spirit, to approve and delight in the good and perfect and 
acceptable will of God. Communion with God, and conformity to 
God, are the utmost of his desires and endeavours. Oh, how will- 
ingly doth this Christian take upon him the yoke of Christ, not 
complaining of its uneasiness, but of his own unholiness ! 

The man formerly was as a virgin : before marriage she standeth 
upon her terms, she will indent with her sweetheart what shall 
be settled upon her, and how he shall deal with her, or else she 
will not have him ; but now Christ by his Spirit hath prevailed 
with the soul, and it is heartily willing to take him for better 
for worse, to resign up all to Christ, to part with all for Christ, 
to take all from Christ, to be disposed in all by Christ ; in a word, 
it promiseth with the whole heart to be a loving, faithful, and 
obedient wife; and now the match is made, nay, the Saviour 
and the soul are actually married together, and oh what a happy, 
joyful day is this ! If Aaron, when he met Moses, was glad at 
his heart, how glad is this poor soul now he meets with the 
Messias ! The Father accepts him for his child, the Son accepts 
him for his spouse, the Spirit hath given earnest already to have 
the Christian's heart for his everlasting habitation ; the devils in 
hell are vexing, the angels in heaven are singing, the saints on 
earth are shouting, for it is meet that they should be merry, for 
this son was dead, and is alive, was lost, and is found, was a 
cursed sinner, and is become a blessed saint. 

So I have despatched the first branch of this second help to 
regeneration, namely, an observation of those several steps whereby 
the wandering sheep is brought home. I come now to the second 
branch of this help, which is a pliable submission to the work- 
ings and motions of the Spirit, when the Spirit at any time 
maketh his addresses to thy soul. 

Keader, I must earnestly beseech thee, if thou hast the least 
spark of love to thy soul, and endless good in the other world, that 
thou be more tender of the motions of the Spirit than of the apple 
of thine eye. When the Holy Ghost cometh to thy soul by its 
motions to good, thy kind entertainment of it may be as much as 
thine eternal happiness is worth, and probably invite the Spirit to 


stay with thee, perfect the work, and abide in thee for ever ; 
whereas if thou shouklst grieve or quench the Spirit, and affront 
this ambassador which is sent to treat with thee about terms of 
peace between God and thy soul, he may be called home, and 
thou never hear of him more. 

We read in Gen. i. 2 that the Spirit of God moved upon the 
face of the waters. Several read the words, The Spirit of God was 
sitting or hatching upon the waters.! It is a metaphor taken from 
birds or hens ; they sit and move upon their eggs to hatch them, 
and bring them forth, and when they are hatched, they still sit and 
move upon them to cherish and bring them to perfection. So the 
Spirit of God sat or moved upon that face of the deep, that by his 
motion or incubation he might hatch and bring forth out of that vast 
chaos the several kinds of creatures. Thus the Spirit moveth upon 
thy heart, he sitteth upon, he broodeth on thee, that he may hatch 
and bring thee forth a new creature. Therefore consider what 
thou dost, and how thou carriest thyself towards him. Fowls, when 
they have been much disturbed, have left their eggs and never 
hatched them, they have come to notliing ; should thou resist the 
Spirit in his operations, or quench him in his motions when he is 
brooding on thy soul, he may take his eternal flight from thee. 

"When the Spirit cometh to thy soul by its motions, dissuading 
thee from sin, or stirring thee up to holiness, Jesus Christ then 
knocks at the door of thy heart ; every motion is a knock from the 
hand of Christ ; if thou hearkenest and openest, he will come in 
and sup with thee ; but if, notwithstanding his knocking, thou wilt 
not hear, though he cometh upon an errand so infinitely for thine 
advantage, he will depart away in a distaste, as neighbours when 
they are so uncivilly used, and thou mayest never hear of him 

Thou art apt to complain that thou wantest help to turn from 
sin, and to turn unto God. I tell thee, when the Spirit moveth 
and worketh within thee to mind thy soul and thine eternal estate, 
he offereth thee his help and assistance, and if thou hearkenest to, 
and obeyest his motions, thou shalt have his help. As he was 
teaching, the power of God was present to heal them, Luke v. 17. 
Whilst the Son of man was teaching, at that nick of time the 
power of God was present to heal men's bodies. So when the 
Spirit is moving, at that very time the power of God is present to 
help thy soul : now, if thou takest that time, thou mayest be a 
happy man for ever. If when the winds blow fairly for men's 

, ^ Incubabat aquis. — Jim. Gen. 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of regeneration. 221 

voyage, they then hoist up their sails and be going, they may, 
through the help of the wind, be at their haven in convenient time ; 
but if they neglect the opportunity, and will not launch out while 
the wind ofFereth its help, they may be dead before they have an- 
other wind, and so never go that voyage. Thus if when the gales 
of the Spirit blow, and offer thee their assistance for regeneration 
and salvation, thou then presently launchest out, and compliest 
with its motions, through its help thou shouldst be seasonably and 
safely landed in Christ, and at the haven of heaven ; but if thou 
then liest still and neglectest this opportunity, God knoweth but 
thou mayest be dead before the Spirit blow so favourably for 
thee again. 

Solomon telleth us that there is a time for every purpose under 
heaven, and a time to be born, Eccles. iii. 1, 2. There is time for 
every purpose, that is, an opportunity when the work may be done 
best, and with most advantage ; yea, when it must be done, or 
shall not be done at all. Now such a time, such an opportunity 
there is for the new birth ; there is an accepted time, a time when 
God may be found, when he is near, a day of salvation, 2 Cor. 
vii. 2 ; Ps. xxx. 6, and Iv. 6. This is when the Spirit moveth 
and stirreth, and ofiferetli thee his help ; if thou passest by that 
time, and dost not then strike in, thou mayest come, as Esau, too 
late for the blessing ; thou mayest, as some idle persons that are 
tippling and drinking in an ale-house when they should be in 
the market, let slip thy opportunity, and find it too late to buy 
the wine and milk in the gospel. 

It is one great misery of men and women that they observe not, 
neither improve their opportunities. The turtle, and the stork, and 
the crane, and the swallow, they all know their opportunity and their 
time, Jer. viii. 7 ; but the generation of mankind neglect theirs. 
' Oh that thou hadst known in this thy day, the things which 
concern thy peace ' ! Opportunity is a transient thing, it is quickly 
gone, but it bringeth a lasting treasure along with it, which if 
neglected can never be recovered. Time is all the while a man 
liveth on the earth ; but opportunity is only when the Spirit 
moveth : ' Me ye have not always,' saith Christ. 

Friend, thou wilt make hay while the sun shineth ; I mean 
improve opportunities for the good of thine outward estate ; when 
the heavens offer thee tlieir help, then thou wilt cut thy corn 
or hay, make it, and carry it in. For thy soul's sake do not 
neglect the Spirit, when he oflfereth thee his help for a spiritual 
harvest ; when the Holy Ghost moveth, like the angel upon the 


waters, then at that nick of time, if thou steppest down, art 
pliable to its motions, thou mayest be healed. 

The Spirit of God is a tender thing, saith one ; grieve it once 
and you may drive it away for ever : ' Grieve not the Spirit,' Eph. 
iv. 30, much less quench it, least of all resist it. Masters of a 
calling will not be checked, 1 Thes. v. 19 ; Acts vii. 51. 

The client, by losing a term, hath lost his suit ; Saul, by los- 
ing his opportunity, lost a kingdom, 1 Sam. x. 9, 13. Header, 
the way to lose the kingdom of heaven is to neglect and slight 
the motions of the Spirit, the only opportunity for thy salvation. 

For thine help herein I shall direct thee how to demean thyself 
towards the Spirit when he maketh his addresses unto thy soul for 
thy regeneration and quickening ; in which I shall take thee, as 
indeed thou art in thine unregenerate estate, for a patient danger- 
ously sick, yea, unto death eternal, though thou thinkest thyself 
whole, and the Spirit of God, as he is, for a skilful, able, and com- 
passionate physician. 

First, I suppose that this tender physician, beholding thee very sick, 
notwithstanding thy conceit that thou art well enough, and daily 
increasing thy distemper, doth come to thee and acquaint thee 
that thou art a diseased person, and that unless thou forbearest 
such and such sins, such and such things, which feed thy disease, 
thou wilt make thy condition, which is already dangerous, to be 
desperate and incurable. I mean the Holy Ghost enlighteneth 
thy mind to see, and convinceth thy conscience of thy sins and 
misery, that whereas before thou thoughtest that thou wast rich, and 
increased with goods, and hadst need of nothing, Kev. iii. 11, 
yet now thou seest that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, 
and blind, and naked, and that such and such courses which thou 
takest will unavoidably tend to thy ruin. Possibly thou art one 
accustomed to wicked company, to the ale-house, to deal unright- 
eously in thy particular calling, to lay aside praying, hearing, 
reading, and the like duties. Now the Spirit of God in thy con- 
science moveth thee to lay down these ungodly customs which thou 
hast taken up, and to take up these duties and performances which 
thou hast laid down, and convinceth thee by the word that this is 
the will of God. Oh now, friend, look to thyself, that thou dost 
not sin against this light, nor play by that candle which the Spirit 
of God sets up for thee to work by ! If thou hadst a guest of any 
quality in thine house, and shouldst burn things of an ill savour 
in his chamber, which thou knewest he hated, or shouldst fill the 
room wherein he lodgeth with filth and uncleanness, wouldst thou 

Chap. XYII.] by the key of regeneration. 223 

not provoke him to speed away in a distaste, and to resolve against 
ever coming at thine house again ! I must tell thee that shouldst 
thou go on in the commission of those iniquities, and neglect of 
those duties, which the Spirit convinceth thee of, it would be far 
more distasteful to the Spirit of God, than all the forementioned 
uncivil usage could be to an emperor. The Holy Ghost is com- 
pared to fire, Acts ii., as the word quenching implieth. Now, how 
is fire quenched and put out ? both by throwing water on it, and 
by taking away the wood from it. Shouldst thou, notwithstanding 
its checks and convictions, continue in any way of open wickedness, 
thou throwest water upon it ; and shouldst thou omit those holy 
duties, thou withdrawest fuel from it ; and therefore be confident 
the fire will be quenched and go out. 

By sinning against these convictions and light thou art a pro- 
fessed defier and darer of him, and mayest confidently expect that 
he should give thee up to judiciary inward darkness, which is but 
the forerunner of utter darkness, Eom. i. 20-22 ; James iii. 18 ; 
Prov. V. 11-13; John ix. 41. 

If thou improvest that little stock of help, which the Holy Ghost 
afifordeth thee, well, thou may hope that thy master will trust thee 
with more. Every act of obedience fitteth for greater obedience. 
But if thou squanderest that away prodigally by sinning against it, 
thou mayest look for no more. 

Dear friend, be tender of the first motions of the Spirit. Thou 
sittest cold and frozen in thy natural estate. Now, as ever thou 
wouldst have a good fire to melt thee kindly, to thaw thee 
thoroughly, to warm thy heart eternally, make much of those 
sparks. As thou desirest a spiritual flame, which may ascend to 
heaven, take heed lest, by presumptuous sins, thou bio west out 
those sparks. As the best way to quench the fiery darts of the 
devil, that evil spirit, is to reject them, to disobey them in the first 
motions, when the devil first kindleth them, then throw water on 
them, then detest them, and that fire of hell will be quenched ; so 
the readiest way to quench the fiery darts of the good Spirit is to 
slight the first motions of it. If thou strive against these first 
motions of him, he may never strive with thee more. Gen. vi. 3. 

It may be thou art a drunken wretch, an unclean person, a scoffer 
at godliness, a swearer, a liar, a cheater by false weights, or mea- 
sures, or the like, and the Spirit of God whispereth thee in the ear, 
Man, dost thou know what thou dost ? thou art in a lost estate, in 
a damnable condition. Turn at my reproof, saith God, and I 
will pour my Spirit upon thee, Prov. i. 24. Forbear such sins, and 


I will assist tliee for the recovery of thy soul. Oh now look to 
thyself, venture by no means upon the forbidden fruit. I have 
read of one, that being troubled with sore eyes, asked a physician's 
advice. The physician told him, that if he did not forbear his 
drunken, intemperate courses, he would lose his sight. He makes 
no more of it, but presently crieth out. Farewell sweet sight, fare- 
well sweet sight.i He was resolved to lose his sight rather than 
leave his sin. Thou art diseased, the tender physician cometh to 
thee without sending for, and giveth thee his blessed counsel 
without asking, and it is this, that thou must forbear thy lewd, 
sinful ways, or else thou wilt lose thy soul, thy Saviour, thy God, 
thine happiness for ever. Now, wilt thou, by continuing in such 
courses, and rejecting his first counsel, say. Farewell precious soul, 
farewell dearest Saviour, farewell blessed God, farewell glorious 
angels, farewell perfect spirits, farewell fulness of joy, rivers of 
pleasures, farewell to you all, ay, and farewell for ever. Take heed 
what thou dost with these first motions of the Spirit, lest he take 
of thee his last leave, and bid thee farewell for ever. 

When a noble person should come to thine house, one by whom 
thou expectest to be promoted highly and enriched greatly, or one 
whose heir thou lookest to be, how welcome wouldst thou make 
such a man, especially the first time that he cometh to visit thee ! 
and upon those very accounts, I mean for thy advantage, he must 
have the best room, the best fare, the most pleasing language, the 
most respectful carriage ; all things must be done, as much as pos- 
sibly can be, according to his mind, and nothing must be done 
which is known to be offensive to him ; and all, lest he should be 
provoked to forsake thee, to cast thee off, and to do nothing at all 
for thee. Eeader, is there not far more reason that when the 
infinite Spirit of the blessed God cometh to thine heart, who only is 
able to promote thee to become the child of God, an heir of heaven, 
and to enrich thee with the image of God in regeneration ; that 
when he cometh first to thee, and for these very ends, thou shouldst 
give him all the respects imaginable, that thou shouldst follow his 
counsel, forbear what thou knowest grieves him, do what thou 
knowest will please him, lest he depart away from thee, and do 
none of these things for thee ? Saul, by disobeying the counsel of 
Samuel from God, concerning the slaughter of the Amalekites, did 
so grieve his Spirit, that Samuel tells him plainly, that God had 
rejected him from being king. And the text saith expressly, that 
' Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death,' (that 

^ Vale lumen aniicum. 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of regeneration. 225 

is, never,) ' nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul' Truly now 
the Spirit of God delivereth thee counsel, to destroy those notorious 
sins, which if thou wilt, thou canst forbear; shouldst thou spare 
those fat, those king-corruptions, though the Spirit of God may 
mourn for thee, that thou shouldst be such a wilful soul-murderer, 
and reject the counsel of God against thyself, yet he may utterly 
reject thee from being any of the heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and 
thou mayest see him no more to the day of thy death. 

If thou livest under the gospel, I question not but the Holy 
Spirit doth move thee to forsake thine ungodly comrades, thy scan- 
dalous crimes, and to set upon prayer in secret, in private. Scrip- 
ture and meditation, which I must tell thee that if thou hast will 
at home, as we say, thou hast power enough in thine hands to do ; 
again and again I pray thee to cherish and obey such motions, (the 
Spirit makes short work with some,) lest he bid thee adieu, and 
clap such a curse upon thee, that thou never clawest off while thou 
livest, no, not whilst thou hast a being. 

It may be this skilful physician proceedeth further ; he doth not 
only shew thee thy disease, and tell thee what things are bad, what 
things are good for it, but also gives thee physic, in order to thy 
cure, and such physic as works to purpose, and makes thee heart-sick 
indeed. I mean, the Spirit of God proceedeth from illumination to 
humiliation; it doth not only convince thee of thy wounds and 
putrified sores, but also lanceth and cutteth them, applieth a sting- 
ing corrosive to eat up thy proud flesh, and putteth thee to great 
pain ; the Spirit sheweth thee sin and wrath in their colours, mak- 
ing thee see the former more frightful than a devil, and feel the 
latter more painful at thy heart than a dagger ; possibly he takes 
thee and holds thee, as it were, over hell, making thee see the 
smoke of that bottomless pit, smell the brimstone, and feel the 
scorchings of that eternal fire, that thou beginnest to sink under 
the weight of thy wickedness, and to cry out, ' Mine iniquities are 
gone over my head, and they are a burden too heavy for me to 
bear,' Ps. xxxviii. 4. Those sins which were as sweet as honey in 
thy mouth, are now taken down into thy belly, and they are there 
more bitter than gall. The law chargeth thee home with its great 
guns, that thou fearest and tremblest, and knowest not whither to 
fly for succour. 

If thou art come thus much of thy journey, I would bid thee 
welcome so far, and would tell thee, for thy encouragement, that 
these pangs and throes seem to foretell the new birth to be coming. 
If thou sufferest not the devil and thy corrupt heart to be at thy 

VOL. V. p 


labour, to try their experiments, and tamper about thee, for ques- 
tionless they would destroy both thee and the babe of grace in thy 
womb, but suflferest the Spirit of God to be thy midwife, and fol- 
lowest his directions, I durst be the man that should prophesy a 
happy and safe delivery. But thou knowest that the condition of 
one in travail is very ticklish ; a little miscarriage may then undo 
both mother and child ; therefore it behoveth thee now to be extra- 
ordinary careful what thou dost, and how thou carriest thyself ; it 
is as much as thy life is worth. For thy direction I [shall tell thee 
what thou shouldst not do, and what thou shouldst do. 

Be sure that thou do not run to creatures for comfort. Foolish 
people, when sometimes an able chirurgeon hath laid some sharp 
medicine to their festered wounds, which puts them to much pain, 
though, unless by such means the rottenness of them be eaten up, 
and the corruption in them forced out, they can never be cured, yet 
they are ordinarily so impatient, that they will not endure it, but 
ask this good woman, and that neighbour, if they do not know a 
milder medicine for such a sore. Surely, say they, this medicine 
which the doctor useth will never do it ; we find the member or 
part very angry, and extremely raging. And then some one or 
other acquainteth them with gentler means, which they presently 
apply, and thereby skin over their sores before they are half 
searched, that afterwards the wound either breaks out again, and 
puts them to more pain if ever they be healed, or else keeps still in, 
overspreads the body, and kills them. Thus do too many with the 
physician of their souls, and thereby do often undo themselves. 
The Spirit of God applieth the terrors and consternations of the law, 
to make way and prepare them for the dainties and consolations of 
the gospel ; the good Samaritan poureth wine into the wound to 
search it, before he poureth oil to heal it. Now foolish men are 
impatient, not able to bear such sad, melancholy thoughts, as they 
call them, and therefore they often break away from the Spirit of 
God before they are thoroughly humbled, and run to their earthly 
enjoyments, whereby they get some present ease, but here or here- 
after far greater pain. 

It is reported of the Italians, that in a great thunder they ring 
their bells, and shoot off their cannons, that the noise of them 
might drown the voice of the thunder. Thus do some with the 
voice of their awakened and terrified consciences, they seek to 
drown it by the noise of worldly businesses, recreations, or it may 
be ungodly delights ; but surely damning a soul is not the way to 
save a soul. 

Chap. XYII.] by the key of regeneration 227 

Eeader, didst thou never know of any that were in a journey, 
and coming to some deep, dirty, potchy lane, they thought to avoid 
it, and broke over the hedge into the field ? but when they had 
rode round and round, they could find no way out, but were forced 
to go out where they got in ; and then, notwithstanding their un- 
willingness, to go thi'ough that miry lane, or else not go that jour- 
ney. Truly so it is in thy journey to heaven ; thou art now come 
to this deep lane of humiliation, through which all must go that 
will reach that city, ' whose builder and maker is God.' Do not 
think to avoid it, no, not the least part of it ; for this is the narrow 
way and strait gate that leadeth to life. Suppose thou shouldst 
run to the world, or anything here below, now thou beginnest to be 
sensible of thy sickness and pain, and so in a hopeful way of reco- 
very ; first. It is impossible that any of those things can cure thee, 
— miserable comforters are they all, and physicians of no value. 
Can a silver slipper cure the gout ? or a golden crown the head- 
ache ? or the greatest empire in the world the pain of the teeth ? 
Much less can these things cure the diseases of thy soul. All the 
wrapping of thy foot, that hath a thorn in it, though with never 
80 much fine scarlet cloth, will be altogether ineffectual to ease 
thee of thy pain, for the thorn must be pulled out ; so must sin be 
plucked out, its guilt removed, before thou canst possibly be eased. 
But my great reason is, which I desire thee to consider seriously, 
shouldst thou throw off this medicine of thy spiritual physician 
because it is somewhat sharp, and run to the empirics and 
mountebanks of the world, thou wilt provoke thy tender, able 
physician to leave thee ; (for what man will bear such affronts?) 
and where art thou then ? what will become of thee for ever ? 
Those that work in coal mines find by experience that the earth 
sendeth up damps which quench and put out their candles ; and 
what then becomes of the men that are there ? they are often slain. 
Shouldst thou, like Jonah, run from the presence of the Lord, to 
more pleasing employments than the work of a thorough humilia- 
tion, he will bring thee back again to the same business, either by 
storms and tempests, or else such damps will arise from thine 
earthly interruptions, as will quench God's Spirit, and eternally 
ruin thy spirit. 

The evil spirit, I know, will be busy to persuade thee to smother 
and put out the sparks which the good Spirit hath kindled within 
thee, by heaps of worldly rubbish and dirt ; but take heed what 
thou dost, for thy soul is at stake. If those sparks should die, thou 
art like to live in hell-fire for ever. Observe how it fared with un- 


happy Felix. He was a prisoner to his prisoner, and in a ready 
way to have been one of Christ's freemen, but now hell's jailer was 
like to lose one of his captives, for I question not but Satan, for fear 
of losing him, trembled more than he; what, therefore, through the 
devil's advice must Felix do ? He must needs cure himself of his 
convulsion by an abrupt diversion. When the Spirit struck in 
with the word, and caused him to tremble, he sendeth Paul away 
till another season, and we never read when that time came. Had 
Felix struck in with the Spirit, when the iron of his heart was hot, 
he might have been happy indeed ; but he quencheth those motions 
which were so likely to recover his soul, and thereby, in all proba- 
bility, misseth salvation. 

Some say that Samson's mother was forbidden wine and strong 
drink all the while she was with child of him, partly because that 
wine and strong drink are naught for the child in the womb. 1 
am confident that carnal diversions, that to put back thy pangs by 
earthly affairs, much more by wine and strong drink, is infinitely 
prejudicial to the babe of grace, and many to one but it may cause 
thine eternal miscarriage. 

Friend, that which in this case I would advise thee to do, is to 
betake thyself to thy closet, or chamber, and there to fall down 
before the most high Grod, and to accuse, indict, and condemn thy- 
self for thy sins ; pour out thy soul before the Lord in acknow- 
ledging the pollutions of thy nature, the transgressions of thy life, 
with all their bloody aggravations, confessing the righteousness of 
the law, and thy obnoxiousness thereby to the infinite and eternal 
wrath of the Lord. Oh now is the time to repent, with that re- 
pentance which is never to be repented of; if ever thou wouldst 
draw water, and pour it out before the Lord, it must be now the 
Spirit hath thawed the tap ; neglect this season, and it may freeze 
again speedily. When Nathan came from God to David after his 
fall, when he had lain in his impenitency many months, and told 
him of his sins, and convinced him that he was worthy to die, what 
doth David do ? doth he run to his crown, or honour, or power in 
the world ? No. Doth he hastily snatch at the promises ? No ; 
but he goeth to God, as appears by the title and body of the 51st 
Psalm, bewaileth his original and actual sins, condemneth himself, 
justifieth God, offer eth up the sacrifice of a broken heart, beggeth 
hard for pardon and holiness. Oh do thou follow this blessed pat- 
tern ! If thy body were sick of a violent fever, and nature were so 
far thy friend, as when thou wast in thy bed to put thee into a fine 
sweat, and thereby give thee hope of evacuating the ill-humours. 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of eegeneration, 229" 

which cause thy disease, through the pores, what wouldst thou do 
ia this case ? Wouldst thou rise presently, and run into the cold 
air ? or wouldst thou not rather abide still in thy bed, and, if need 
were, call for more clothes to increase thy sweat, whereby thy body 
might be perfectly cured ? Thus it is in the state of thy soul : 
thou art sick unto death ; the Spirit of God is so much thy friend 
as to help thee to sweat out thy distemper by humiliation and 
godly sorrow ; it were a madness in thee now to run to the open 
air of the world, or to do anything which might hinder this sweat- 
ing ; thy only way is to encourage and increase it, by betaking thy- 
self to thy chamber, and there to look into thy heart, and consider 
how full it is of unholiness ; to look back upon thy life, and con- 
sider how contrary it hath been to the divine law ; to look up to 
God, and consider the majesty, holiness, and mercy, which are in 
him whom thou hast provoked ; this is the way to continue and 
increase thy humiliation, and thereby (for the Spirit delighteth to 
proceed in assisting those that thus cherish his motions) to be per- 
fectly healed. Duties now are the Spirit's pleasant garden, in which 
he will delight to walk with thee ; they are like bellows to blow up 
the heavenly fire into a flame, or as oil to the lamps, which will 
keep them ever burning. Philosophers tell us, that elementary 
fire wants no fuel, though culinary doth. Divines tell us, that the 
Spirit of God needs not ordinances, for he is infinite in power ; but 
that he will not work without them, where he affords them, is 
manifestly his pleasure. 

Keader, if thou art humbled, as I have before spoken, thou 
lookest on thyself as a vile creature, even as a dog ; I would have 
thee now very careful, that thou wait patiently, for the bountiful 
housekeeper of the world is preparing some good food for thee, and 
do not catch too hastily at the children's bread, the promises, lest 
it be taken from thee, and thou meet with a blow. When a wound 
is deep, there is much wisdom required to keep it some time open 
with a tent, and not to heal it up too soon, lest its cure be imper- 
fect. Do thou wait God's leisure, bemoaning thy sins, abhorring 
thyself, praying fervently for thy soul ; and be confident that Jesus 
Christ, who is already upon his way, will arise upon thee speedily, 
with healing under his wings. 

It may be that this tender, able physician cometh nearer to thee ; 
he doth not only shew thee the nature and danger of thy disease, and 
make thee, who were before senseless, apprehensive of it by feeling 
thy sickness, but doth also discover to thee an excellent and costly 
remedy, which hath cured many of thy very disease, and will un- 


questionably heal thee, if thou wilt but accept it thankfully, and 
apply it prudently ; I mean the Spirit presenteth to thee, when thou 
art full of anguish and sorrow, that rare salve of the blood of Jesus 
Christ, which, spread upon a promise, is the only healing plaster for 
a wounded conscience. He acquainteth thee with the all-sufficiency 
of Jesus Christ to save sinners ; that he is a Saviour of God's own 
appointing, one in whom God hath given under his hand that he 
is well pleased ; a Kedeemer that hath in him infinite meritorious- 
ness, because he is the only begotten of the Father, He sheweth 
thee long bills of others' debts which have been cancelled by the 
blood of Christ, and assureth thee that he is not only able, but truly 
willing, to save thee ; that he was wounded for thy transgressions, 
and bruised for thine iniquities, and by his stripes thou mayest be 
healed. The Holy Ghost possibly setteth the King of saints before 
thee in all his robes, and riches, and righteousness, as it were, thus 
bespeaking thee : Come poor sinner that liest weltering in thy blood, 
hearken to me, and thou shalt see what I can, and will do for thee; 
though by thy wilful breach of the law thou art liable to such endless, 
boundless fury as thou couldst neither abide nor avoid, yet I will be 
a screen between thee and the unquenchable fire. I will satisfy the 
law, and pacify my Father ; I will not only deliver thee from sin and 
Satan, wrath, and death, and damnation, but adopt thee for a son, 
interest thee in that inestimable treasure, the covenant of grace, and 
make thee an heir of the eternal weight of glory ; and all this thou 
shalt have freely and surely, if thou wilt but accept me thankfully 
and heartily for thy Saviour and Lord ; at the hearing of which lov- 
ing language thou probably art amazed, and ready to say, as Mephi- 
bosheth, when David told him that he should eat bread at his table 
continually, ' What is thy servant, that thou shouldst look upon such 
a dead dog as I am ?' Thou admirest the freeness of his mercy, and 
the happiness of his members ; thy soul begins to be exceedingly 
in love with him, and affectionately longing after him ; Oh, thinkest 
thou, had I but Christ for my portion, though I were never so poor in 
temporals, I could be heartily contented ! Now, Christian, the 
kingdom of God is come nigh unto thee ; thou art now upon thy 
quickening, be but careful here and thou art made for ever. I 
know that thy broken heart is willing to go to Jesus Christ, but 
have a care that thou carry nothing to him, that thou keep nothing 
from him ; thy miscarriage in either of these may quite break off 
the bargain betwixt Christ and thy soul, as near as it is driven. 

I say, carry nothing to Christ. Thy next step must be quite out 
of thine own doors. The devil knoweth how to slay thee as well 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of regeneration. 231 

By thy righteousness, thy mournful contrition for sin, as by 
thine unrighteousness, thy wilful commission of sin ; which made 
Augustine say, that repentance damneth more than sin ; nay, thy 
trusting upon thy prayers, or tears, or any good in thee, doth alter 
the nature of them, and turn them into sin. In this many stick ; 
they are hardly brought off from their own bottoms. When men's 
houses are on fire, their covetousness to save their goods hath often 
lost them their lives ; when men's souls are in a flame, their pride 
to carry out with them their good prayers, and good desires, and 
good resolutions, hath lost them eternal life : they will pay some of 
their brass farthings towards the reckoning, and God therefore 
makes them pay the whole shot. 

Oh how unwilling is the creature to be beholden to Christ, his 
surety, for the payment of all his debts ! Though he be a mere 
bankrupt, yet he hopes he may compound with his creditor, and pay 
something towards his satisfaction ; and this ariseth partly from his 
ignorance of that righteousness which alone can satisfy the law, or 
pacify the Lord : ' For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, 
and going about to establish their own righteousness,' Eom. x. 3. 
They were ignorant, first, how perfect that righteousness must be 
for which God will justify a sinner ; and if there be the least spot in 
it, his pure eyes' cannot accept it. Secondly, They were ignorant 
how complete that righteousness is which the law requireth ; how 
the law reacheth to the inward as well as the outward man ; how 
it damneth for the smallest idle word, wandering thought, or com- 
plying motion of the heart with sin. Did they but know that the 
righteousness which pleaseth God for their justification must answer 
the law in its full latitude and all its dimensions, they would not 
offer their drossy duties, no, nor their golden graces, for current 
coin, which being weighed in that balance of the sanctuary, must 
needs be found infinitely too light. Partly from his pride : ' For 
they, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and going about 
to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves 
to the righteousness of God,' Eom. x. 3. Mark, they have not sub- 
mitted themselves to the righteousness of God. Proud man esteems 
it submission, a condescension, to be beholden to Jesus Christ for 
remission and salvation ; he hath, though a beggar's purse, yet a 
proud heart, and is loath to trouble Jesus Christ so much, and to take 
all his mercies as alms out of the basket of the Kedeemer's merits. 

Reader, now thou art in a storm, if thou lovest thy soul do not 
run to shelter thyself under the rotten house of thy own righteous- 
ness, for be confident it will fall about thine ears, and thou, like 


Zimri, will perish in it. The law of man denieth allowance from- 
the parish to them that have anything of their own to subsist by ; 
and the gospel of God denieth allowance from the righteousness of 
Christ to all them that have of their own for their maintenance. 

Do not think to piece thy rags up with Christ's robes, for it will 
not be allowed ; go to Jesus Christ stark naked for his glorious 
raiment, altogether poor for his precious riches ; there is a necessity 
of being found wholly in him, or wholly out of him ; there is no 
medium. The hare which, being pursued, trusteth to her own legs, 
is torn in pieces by the dogs ; when the coney, that runneth to the 
holes of the rock, is safe. The man that, pursued by the law, leaneth 
on his own sanctity, loseth his own soul, when he that fleeth to the 
wounds of a crucified Christ is sure to be saved. ' Behold, saith 
God, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious 
corner-stone, a sure foundation : he that believeth on him shall not 
be confounded,' Isa. xxviii. 16 ; 1. Pet. ii. 6. 

As I would have thee careful that thou carry nothing to Christ, 
so also that thou keep nothing from Christ. When Israel went out 
of Egypt to serve God, there was not a hoof to be left behind. There 
must be no reservation, no exception, but an absolute hearty dedica- 
tion of thyself, and all thou hast, unto Jesus Christ ; if thou halvest 
or haltest now, thou art an undone man. As Samuel asked Jesse, 
Are all thy sons here ? and denied to sit down and feast with him 
till all were present ; so truly Christ will deny to close with thy 
soul, to sit down and sup with thee, unless all thou hast be present, 
and unfeignedly devoted to his service. 

But in a special manner be careful that no sin be kept from the 
stroke of Christ. As when Paul came to Ephesus the whole city 
was in an uproar, so now the Lord Jesus is coming into thine heart, 
there will be old stir among thy corruptions ; how strongly will 
they plead, if not for their former open allowance, yet at least for a 
secret inward connivance ! Little dost thou think how busy Satan 
will be for a writ of partition, that since he cannot prevail for all 
thy heart, that yet he may be admitted an equal sharer with Christ : 
he will tell thee, but remember that he was a liar from the begin- 
ning, that thou mayest keep thy sins and thy Saviour too ; that 
Christ is not so strict, but that for a fair agreement he will allow 
somewhat to the flesh. But I beseech thee not to think of any 
league with the least of thy lusts. Surely if thou seest any loveli- 
ness in Christ, thou canst not but judge every sin loathsome ; 
besides, he were a poor Saviour if he could not make thee amends 
for thy parting with the most pleasurable or profitable sin. Who 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of regeneration. 233 

would think that thou, like David, shouldst plead for Absalom, 
for sin, when it seeks to bereave thee of thy crown and life ? Truly 
shouldst thou gratify Satan so far as to hide any wedge of gold or 
Babylonish garment, any one lust, I must tell thee that one, be it 
never so small, would, like a little boy put in at a casement, open the 
door of thine heart for many thievish lusts, and great ones too, to 
enter in. If thou allow the old serpent but room for his head, he 
will quickly wind in his whole body. Sir Francis Drake, being in 
a dangerous storm upon the Thames, was heard to say. Must I, who 
have escaped the rage of the ocean, be drowned in a ditch ? Surely 
thou mayest so far comply with Christ as to take thy leave of scan- 
dalous enormities ; yet if thou reservest favourable thoughts towards 
any secret iniquity, thou destroyest thyself. And it will be all one 
whether thou art slain by a small pistol or by a great cannon. 

Corruption may close with religion a great way, saith a divine,^ 
and hear gladly and do many things ; but there is a particular 
point of strictness in every unregenerate man's case, which, when 
it is set on close to him, causeth him to be offended and stumble, 
as in the young man and Herod. This is the difference between 
hypocritical and sincere conversion : that goeth far, and parts with 
much, and proceeds to almost ; but when it comes to the turning- 
point, and ultimate act of regeneration, he then plays the part 
of an unwise son, and stays in the place of the breaking forth of 
children, as a foolish merchant, that in a rich bargain of a thou- 
sand pound breaks off upon a difference of twenty shillings ; but 
the other is content to part with all, and to suffer the loss of all, to 
carry on the treaty to a full and final conclusion, to have all the 
armour of the strong man taken from him, that Christ may divide 
the spoils. 

Keader, thou knowest upon what terms thou mayest con- 
tract a bargain with Christ for the saving of thy soul ; that 
thou must not think to have him for thy Saviour, unless 
thou wilt accept him for thy Lord also. As Boaz told his 
kinsman, that if he would enjoy the inheritance of Abimelech, 
he must have Euth the Moabitess to be his wife ; so say I to 
thee, if thou wilt have the inheritance, the portion of Jesus 
Christ, thou must have his person for thy husband, and resign thy- 
self to be ruled by his precepts. The Jews that stayed themselves 
upon the God of Israel, and yet continued rebellious, were more 
bold than welcome, Isa. xlviii. 1, 2. Now thou art come thus far, 
do not go back, and to save a pin, lose a kingdom. Thou mayest 
^ Dr Reynolds on Hosea xiv. Ser. 7. 


be confident, that nothing can ever be enjoined thee by Christ but 
what is reasonable and honourable, tending to thy real and eternal 
good, as well as his own glory ; therefore now the master is come 
and calleth for thee, do thou answer, ' Lo, I come to do thy will, 
my God ; thy law is in the midst of my heart.' 

Friend, if the Spirit of Grod hath been so favourable to thee, as 
to kindle such motions as I have mentioned within thee, for the 
Lord's sake cherish them, obey them, lest thy quenching the Spirit 
bring thee to that fire which can never be quenched. ' To-day if 
thou wilt hear his voice, harden not thine heart, lest he swear in 
his wrath that thou shalt never enter into his rest.' 

The third help to regeneration. 

A serious constant use of all the means of grace which God hath 
appointed for the renewing of souls, with an expectation of a bless- 
ing from God. 

Thirdly, If thou wouldst be regenerated, be serious and constant 
in the use of all the means of grace which God hath appointed for 
the begetting souls unto Christ, with looking unto God for a blessing. 

Eeader, observe five particulars in this third help to regeneration. 

First, Use and attend on the means of grace. The ordinances of 
God are the marts and fairs whereat Christians must trade for 
grace. At them thou mayest buy spiritual commodities without 
money, and without price. The ever blessed God hath upon a 
twofold account enjoined the use of his ordinances : partly out of 
sovereignty over us, that we might thereby acknowledge that hom- 
age and fealty which we owe to his majesty; partly out of mercy 
to us, that we might therein receive of his Spirit and grace. By 
our attendance on ordinances, as by a pepper-corn, for all that we 
can do is very little, we acknowledge of whom we hold, and to 
whom we are bound ; and also they are the door at which God 
giveth his gracious doles. The manna of the Spirit doth usually 
fall down in the dews of ordinances. Thou hast God's command 
for thy warrant, Mat. vii. 7, 8 ; Isa. Iv. 1-5 ; and his promise for 
thy motive, ' In all places where I record my name, there I will 
come, and will bless thee,' Exod. xx. 24. And if thou wouldst 
know what blessing, what alms, God giveth at those places, ' There 
the Lord commandeth his blessing, even life for evermore,' Ps. 
cxxxiii. 3. God giveth not such blessings anywhere as there ; . 
there are the mercies of the throne — pardon, love, peace, conversion, 
increase of grace, joy in the Holy Ghost, the kidneys of the wheat, 
the finest of the flour, and the honey out of the rock of mercy. 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of regeneration. 235 

It is said of Constantine, that he impoverished all his empire to 
enrich Constantinople. God doth pass by other parts of the world 
as waste ground, or as a wilderness, but the place where he records 
his name, is his garden ; that he will dung, and dig, and dress, and 
take care that it bring forth good fruit ; there he commands his 
blessing. It is an allusion possibly to great persons, to a general, 
or an emperor : ' Where the word of a king is, there is power/ The 
centurion said, ' I say to one soldier. Go, and he goeth ; to another. 
Come, and he cometh ; to a third. Do this, and he doeth it.' So 
God commandeth one ordinance, Go and build up such a saint, and 
it goeth ; he saith to another ordinance. Come and call home such 
a sinner, and it doeth it ; God's word and work go together. Men 
cannot enable others, or give them power to obey them ; they may 
bid a lame man walk, or a blind man see, but they cannot enable 
them to walk or see. God with his word giveth strength to do the 
thing commanded ; as in the old, so in the new creation, ' He spake 
and it was done ; he commanded, and it stood fast,' Ps. xxxiii. 9. 
But there the Lord commands his blessing, even life for evermore ; 
the stream of regeneration, or a spiritual life, which shall never 
cease, but still go forward and increase, till it swell to, and be swal- 
lowed up in, the ocean of eternal life, even life for evermore. 

Thou hearest, reader, where thy wants may be supplied, through 
what pipes the water of life is conveyed ; do thou, like the impotent 
man, wait at the porch of Solomon's temple, begging and expecting 
some alms ; God may do more for thee (as for him, Acts iii. 2, 8) 
than thou dost ask or think. 

It was as easy for Boaz (and it might have been done with as 
little charge) to have given Euth as much corn at first as would 
have yielded an ephah of barley, and so have sent her away with- 
out any more ado ; but he will have her glean it, and then break 
it. So God could infuse grace immediately ; but he will have men 
hear, read, and pray, attend on ordinances, though not as masters, 
yet as means of grace. He giveth earthly riches to them that are 
diligent in their particular callings ; so he giveth heavenly riches 
to them that are diligent about their general calling. 

Secondly, Observe in this third help a serious constant use of aU 
the means of grace appointed for this end. David in meditation 
findeth the Spirit kindling that fire which at last broke out into a 
holy flame : Ps. xxxix. 3, ' While I was musing, the fire burned.' 

The two disciples at godly conference found Jesus Christ to 
make a third ; while they were discoursing of him, he presents him- 
self to them, causing their hearts to burn within them, and openeth 


their eyes to know him. Dead coals are kindled by live ones. Oh 
it is good for thee to be among the saints ! Thomas, by missing one 
meeting, did his soul unspeakable dis-service. 

Cornelius, at prayer in his house, had a messenger from heaven, 
directing him whither to send for one to instruct him in the way 
of salvation, Acts x. initio. Prayer hath been a prevalent orator 
at the throne of grace ; many that have gone thither with prayers 
and petitions, have come away with praises and thanksgivings. 

Jacob added tears to his prayers, and as a prince prevailed with 
God : ' He wept and made supplication, and prevailed,' Hosea. xii. 
4, Music sounds best upon the waters ; such water of a sinner, 
mingled with the blood of a Saviour, hath melted the very heart of 
God : ' A broken and a contrite heart, God, thou wilt not despise,' 
Ps. li. 17. 

When Daniel was fasting his body, an angel is sent to feast his 
soul, Dan. ix. 21. While some have been casting themselves down, 
God hath been raising them up. Papists on their fasting days 
deny themselves flesh, but have dainty fare, costly sweetmeats. 
Thou mayest, reader, if thou humblest thyself under the mighty 
hand of God, expect that he should in his own time lift thee up : 
these duties have helped to increase, and also to beget holiness. 

The eunuch was reading the Scripture, when Philip was com- 
manded, by commission from the Holy Ghost, to join himself to his 
chariot, and to instruct him in the knowledge of Christ, Acts viii. 
33. Junius, by reading John i., Augustine by reading Eom. xiii., 
were converted. The three thousand. Acts iii., by hearing, came 
to love ; and truly many thousands have found the gospel of Christ 
preached to become the power of God unto salvation. Cyprian 
confesseth that he was converted from idolatry and necromancy by 
hearing the history of the prophet Jonah read and expounded by 
Cecilius, whom therefore he calleth the father of his new life. 
Faith and repentance are both wrought by hearing, Eom. x. 14 ; 
Acts iii. 37. The wandering sinner is most frequently reduced by 
the Scripture, either read or heard ; God calls to him when he is 
running away, saying, 'Keturn, return, Shulamite; return, return.' 
In all God's great works there is ordinarily a word accompanying 
it: as in the creation, ' God said. Let there be light; ' when Christ 
raised Lazarus, ' Lazarus come forth ; ' when he converted Paul, 
' Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ? ' at the great day, ' Arise 
ye dead, and come to judgment.' The devil got in at first into 
man's heart by his ear. The dragon bites the elephant's ear, and 
thence sucks his blood, knowing that to be the only place which 

Chap. XYII.] by the key of kegeneration. 237 

he cannot reacli with his trunk to defend. The Spirit of God 
comes in with the word, 2 Cor. iii. 8 ; Rom. i. 12 ; Gal. iii. 2. 

As that word of God to Abraham, ' Sarah thy wife shall have a 
son,' Gen. xviii. 19 ; that word, I say, gave birth and being to 
Isaac, when there was no likelihood or possibility of his being from 
his parents ; so the word of God gives a spiritual birth and being 
to men and women, when there is no likelihood or possibility in 
nature, yea, when their natures are in flat opposition and con- 
trariety to it. 

The word discovereth our diseases, Rom. vii. 7 ; James ii. 9 ; 
makes us feel our sickness, Rom. vii. 9 ; applieth the medicine for 
our cure, Mat. xi. 28 ; Isa. Iv. 1 ; Rom. x. 14. 

The word killeth sin, casteth down Satan, enliveneth the soul; 
Eph. vi. 15 ; Jer. xxiii. 29 ; Rev. xii. 11 ; John v. 24, and xvii. 
17 ; Isa. xi. 6-9 ; Rom. i. 16 ; 1 Cor. i. 18 ; James i. 18. 

Thus thou seest that the physician of souls hath several means 
for the cure of thy malady ; do not thou neglect any, neither read- 
ing nor hearing, neither fasting nor praying, neither meditation nor 
godly conference, neither secret, nor private, nor public duties, for 
thou knowest not which may do the deed. Christ may wait at that 
very door which thou keepest shut, at that ordinance which thou 
omittest to enter into thy soul. If thou desirest that he should 
meet thee in any duty, do thou meet him in every duty. How fool- 
ish art thou to take any one horse out of the team, when the load 
is so weighty, even thine endless welfare, and all little enough, to 
draw thine untoward heart towards heaven. The husbandman that 
hath a piece of ground which lieth at the end of his fallow, still 
balked before, will be sure to plough up, and expecteth a better 
crop out of that than out of any such quantity of ground in the 
field. Reader, if thou hast balked any of the forementioned duties^ 
for thy soul's sake set upon it speedily, for undoubtedly thou may- 
est reap a greater harvest by it than thou imaginest. 

Friend, have a care of secret, private, public duties ; for all must 
be minded by them that would be new-moulded. How many 
thousands among us do wilfully murder their souls ! Some poison 
them by crying enormities, others starve them by the omission of 
duties. It was a pitiful equivocation of the Duke d'Alva, before 
Haarlem, that promised the soldiers their lives, and afterwards 
killed them with hunger, saying, that though he promised them 
their lives, yet he did not promise that they should have food. 
Art not thou a cheater and murderer of thy soul, in promising it 
spiritual life, when thou deniest it the means of life ? As ever 


thou wouldst have a harvest of grace, do thou plough up and sow 
the ground of thine heart with all the means which God hath 
ordained for that end. 

Thirdly, Be thou serious in thine attendance on the ordinances 
of God. Be in earnest when thou art about soul affairs ; consider, 
when thou art praying, or hearing, or reading, or conferring with 
Christians, it is for thy life, it is for thy soul, it is for eternity; and 
do whatsoever the Lord calleth thee to do, for the quickening thy 
dying soul, with all thine heart, with all thy might, for there is no 
doing it in the grave whither thou art hastening. When Samson 
would destroy the enemies of God, he bowed himself with all his 
might, Judges xvi. 30 ; when David was waiting upon the ark of 
God, he danced before the Lord with all his might, 2 Sam. vi. 14 ; 
60 when thou hearest for the death of thy sins, thou shouldst hear 
with all thy might, Ezek. xl. 4. When thou prayest for the life 
of thy soul, thou shouldst pray with all thy might, 1 Thes. v. 17 ; 
ah, how should they hear, and read, and pray for regeneration, 
that have but a few days, nay, hours possibly, to do it in, between 
whom and eternal burnings there is but a little airy breath, and if 
they be not regenerated before they die, they are ruined, they are 
damned for ever ! 

A child may handle the mother's breast, and play with it, and 
kiss it, but all this while he gets no good, till at last he layeth his 
mouth to the breast, gets the nipple fast, sucks with his might 
and strength, and then he draweth nourishment. Reader, it may 
be thou hast minded duties and frequented ordinances, yet possibly 
hast got no good by them ; it is likely then that thou dost but play 
with them, dally about them, doing them as if thou didst them 
not ; if ever therefore thou wouldst get good by them, thou must 
be serious and in earnest about them, do them with all thy soul, 
with all thy strength, knowing that they are of infinite weight and 
endless concernment to thee, considering that if God do not now 
hear thee, in thy day of grace, he will never, never hear thee ; and 
if thou do not now hear him, thou shalt shortly never, never more 
have such an ofifer. 

I doubt not, friend, but thou art serious about toys and trifles ; 
thou canst rise early, and go to bed late, and work hard all day, 
and have thy mind steadfastly occupied about those foolish things 
of the world from which within a short time thou shalt be i^arted 
for ever. How busy are vain men, like a company of ants, to in- 
crease their heap of earth ! Oh think of it, is it not pity such a 
plant should grow in Egypt, which would thrive so well in Canaan ? 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of kegeneration. 239 

How fitly, liow finely would that seriousness and fervency which 
thou usest about earth become and suit with heaven ! Ah, it 
would be worth the while to be most covetous and sedulous about 
the things of God and Christ, thy soul and eternity. 

Fourthly, Be constant in the use of the means of grace ; pray 
and wait, hear and wait, read and wait, watch and wait : ' In the 
morning sow thy seed, in the evening withhold not thine hand ; 
for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this, or that, or 
whether they both shall be alike good,' Eccles. xi. 6. In every 
morning sow thy seed, pray, read, meditate ; in the evening with- 
hold not thine hand, do the same ; for thou knowest not which shall 
prosper, at which the Spirit of God will give thee a gracious effectual 
meeting for thy conversion or salvation, or whether both shall con- 
duce equally to thy spiritual and eternal advantage. Do not ex- 
pect, like the Hyperboreans, to sow and reap in a day ; allow some 
distance between seed-time and harvest. Physic doth not work 
immediately when it is taken into the body ; be confident thou 
shalt reap in time, if thou dost not faint. 

Suppose thou wert sick of some mortal painful disease, a dead 
man in thy own and others' thoughts, and an able faithful physi- 
cian should warrant thy cure in time, upon condition that thou 
wouldst follow his advice, and diet thyself all the while, wouldst thou 
not use all that he prescribed, and wait, and long to be recovered ! 
Thou wast wounded in a moment, but art not so soon recovered ; 
it is good to wait God's leisure. What Christ said in regard of 
his coming in judgment, I say in regard of his coming in mercy, 
Watch therefore, for thou knowest not when the Son of man will 
come, whether this day, to-morrow, or next week ; lose no time, 
neglect no oi3portunity. The heathen Titus could bewail the loss 
of that day wherein he had done no good : Friends, I have lost a 
day ;! and wilt thou wilfully lose half a day, when every moment 
is of more worth to thee than a kingdom ? Naaman the Syrian 
washed seven times in Jordan ; the six times washing could not do 
it, it was upon the seventh time washing that he was cured of his 
leprosy, and his flesh came again like the flesh of a child. Do 
thou often bathe thy soul in the waters of the sanctuary ; at one 
time or other, if thou faithfully practisest this help, thou wilt find 
them healing waters. Observe what Saul lost by not waiting God's 
leisure ; Samuel had told Saul, 1 Sam. x. 8, ' And thou shalt go 
down before me to Gilgal, . . . seven days shalt thou tarry, 
till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do.' This pre- 

* Amici diem perdidi ; hodie nou regnavimus. 


cept was enjoined Saul, I suppose, not because Samuel might 
be hindered by some necessary occasions till seven days were 
come, which reason some give, but for the trial of Saul's obedi- 
ence to God in waiting his appointed time. Now Saul, 1 Sam. 
xiii. 8 and 13, waited six days, nay, towards the latter end of 
the seventh day for Samuel ; but because he waited not full 
seven days he lost the kingdom : ' Thou hast done foolishly ; thou 
hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God,' saith 
Samuel to Saul ; ' for now would the Lord have established thy king- 
dom for ever ; but now thy kingdom shall not continue, for the 
Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart.' 

Oh how sad was it that Saul should lose a kingdom for want of 
two or three hours' patience ! had he tarried a little longer, he had 
had the kingdom for ever ; but is it not sadder if thou shouldst lose 
the eternal kingdom of heaven by not tarrying God's time, by not 
waiting his leisure ! 

Reader, lie at the pool, and give not over till the angel doth 
move upon the waters. When one of the fathers had it suggested 
to him by the devil, that it was in vain for him to mind God. 
for he should never get to heaven ; then, saith he, I will fol- 
low hard after God, that I may enjoy as much of him as is 
possible on earth. When blind Bartimeus was rebuked by the 
disciples for calling after Christ for his bodily sight, he crieth 
the more earnestly, ' Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on 
me,' Mark x. 15. Whatever discouragements thou meetest with in 
thine attendance on God in ordinances, be like the English jet 
fired by water, and not like our ordinary fires, quenched by it ; let 
them add to, not diminish, thy resolution and courage ; let not one 
repulse beat thee ofi"; be violent, give a second storm to the king- 
dom of heaven. Parents sometimes hide themselves to make 
their children continue seeking. He that would not at first open 
his mouth, nor vouchsafe the woman of Canaan a word, doth, 
upon her continued and fervent petitions, at last open his hand 
and give her whatever she ask : ' woman, be it unto thee as 
thou wilt.' Continued importunity is undeniable oratory. 

And truly, if after all thy pains thou findest Jesus Christ, will 
it not make amends for thy long patience ? Men that venture 
often at a lottery, though they take blanks twenty times, if 
afterwards they get a golden bason and ewer it will make them 
abundant satisfaction. Suppose thou shouldst continue knocking 
twenty, nay, forty years, yet if at last, though but one hour before 
thou diest, thy heart be opened to Christ, and he be received into 

Chap. XVII.] by the key of kegeneration. 241 

thy soul, and when thou diest heaven be opened to thee, and thy 
soul received into it ; will it not infinitely requite thee for all thy 
labour ! Oh think of it, and resolve never to be dumb while God 
is deaf, never to leave off prayer till God return a gracious answer. 
And for thy comfort know, that he who began his psalm with, 
' How long wilt thou forget me, Lord ? for ever ? how long wilt 
thou hide thy face from me ? ' comes to conclude it with, ' I will 
sing unto the Lord, for he hath dealt bountifully with me,' Ps. 
xiii. 1, 6. 

Fifthly, Be serious and constant in the use of all the means of 
grace which God hath appointed for the renewing of souls, but ex- 
pect the blessing only from God. Elijah, when he had filled the 
trenches with water, put the wood in order, laid the sacrifice on 
the altar, then he looks up to heaven for a blessing, and then fire 
came down from heaven, whereby God manifesteth his acceptance, 
1 Kings xviii. 36. So do thou hear as for heaven, sigh as for thy 
soul, perform every duty as for eternity, attend on ordinances with 
such seriousness as one that believeth his unchangeable estate is 
at stake in them ; but when thou art doing them, and when thou 
hast set all in order, then let thine heart look up to heaven for 
success, expect the fire of the Holy Ghost to come dbwn from hea- 
ven. Be as diligent about duties and ordinances as if they could 
regenerate thee, and do all things, but depend on God, as one that 
knoweth that without him they can do nothing. ' Offer the sacri- 
fice of righteousness, and trust in the Lord.' ' Trust in the Lord,_ 
and do good,' Ps. iv. 5, and xxxvii. 3. Look on ordinances only 
as, for indeed they are no more than, the order in which, and the 
instrument with which, he is pleased to work. Trust in God will 
not consist either with the neglect of, or with trust in, means. 

Be thou but faithful in following these directions, and doubt not 
of God's benediction ; expect that he who commandeth thee to 
seek, should enable thee to find. Do not as unwise archers, that 
shoot their arrows at random, never looking to see them again ; 
but as Jonathan, who, when he had shot his arrows, had one ready 
to fetch them again. Expect to reap the fruit of those duties 
which thou sowest. Go to God's house in the multitude of his 
mercies, Ps. v. 7, looking that mercy should give thee a meeting, 
and grant thee a blessing. ' I will direct my prayer to thee, and 
will look up,' Ps. V. 3, that is, I will trade, I will send out my 
spiritual commodities, and expect a gainful return ; I will make 
my prayers, and not give them for lost, but look up for an answer. 
God will bring man home by a way contrary to that by which he 

VOL. V. Q 


wandered from him. Man fell from God by distrust, by having 
God in suspicion ; God will bring him back by trust, by having good 
thoughts of him. Oh, how richly laden might the vessel which 
thou sendest out come home wouldst thou but long and look for its 
return ! 

I come now to remove some hindrances, or answer some objec- 
tions which arise in men's hearts against the truths delivered. 


An answer to three objections. 

The first objection answered — namely, Man's weakness and in- 
ability to turn unto God. 

Secondly, That unregenerate men sin in performing duties, and 
attending on ordinances. 

Thirdly and lastly. If I be elected I shall be saved, let me live 
never so wickedly, and neglect the means prescribed for my re- 

ObJ. 1. Thou mayest probably object against this exhortation to 
mind regeneration, that thou hast no power to leave and loathe 
sin, to believe in, and submit to, Jesus Christ. Therefore, why do 
I call upon thee so earnestly ? to what purpose do I bid thee make 
thee a new heart, and a new spirit, turn unto God, and embrace 
his only Son as thy Lord ? 

To this, and the other subsequent objections concerning election, 
and thy sinfulness in performing duties, I might answer only with 
the apostle, ' Who art thou that repliest against God ? ' Eom. ix. 
20 ; or with Eliphaz, ' Shall mortal man be more just than God? 
shall a man be more pure than his Maker?' Job iv. 17. But I 
will answer with Elihu, ' ^ufter me a little, and I will shew thee 
what I have to speak on God's behalf. I will fetch my knowledge 
from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker. For truly 
my words shall not be false ; he that is perfect in knowledge is with 
me,' Job xxxvi. 2-4. 

First, I confess that thou art unable either to loathe sin or love 
God by thine own strength. The precepts of the word speak man's 
duty, but God's power ; they teach us not what we can do, but 
what we should do. Because a man ought to pay his debts, tliere- 
fore it dotli not follow that he is able to pay them.i Divine com- 

^ See more of man's impotency before. 

Chap. XVIII.] by the key of regeneration. 243 

mands are to convince men of their weakness, not to shew their 
strength. I acknowledge that by nature thou art dead in trespasses 
and sins, and canst neither see, nor hear, nor savour spiritual 
things, Eph. ii. 1. Thou art without strength, Kom. v. 6, not able 
to think a good thought, 2 Cor. iii. 5, nor to speak a good word, 
Mat. xii. 34 ; nay, thou canst do nothing that is acceptable to God, 
John XV. 3, or profitable to thyself. 

None can be aforehand with God. We cannot seek him till we 
have found him ; he will be sought that he may be found, and 
found that he may be sought, saith Bernard. 

Secondly, I answer, that the cause of man's weakness is from 
himself, the fault is not in God : ' God made man upright, but he 
hath found out many inventions,' Eccles. vii. 29. What was there 
wanting on God's part ? He created man after his own image, in 
knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness ; he gives him a law 
to direct him, a threatening to warn him, a promise to encourage 
him, ability and power to carry himself uprightly. Man hearken- 
eth to Satan, distrusteth God, despiseth the law, trieth new inven- 
tions, whereby he undoeth himself. Is God to be blamed ? Surely 
no. ' The foolishness of man perverteth his way, and then his heart 
fretteth against the Lord,' Prov. xix. 3. 

If thou urgest the objection further, that one man sinned, and 
the whole generation of men suffer, that thy weakness proceedeth 
not from thy fall, but Adam's ; I answer, that a child may as well 
complain that his prince is unjust, because he is born the son of a 
beggar, or a traitor ; indeed it is an unhappiness to thee that thou 
art so descended, but not unrighteousness in God. If God gave 
thy father an earthly estate of a thousand pound per annum, and 
he prove a prodigal, and leave thee not a thousand farthings, wilt 
thou blame God ? Is he to be charged for thy father's riotousness ? 
Truly thus it is in spirituals ; God gave Adam a sufficient stock, 
he wasted it by wilful disobeying the command given him, and 
thereby leaves all his children poor and beggarly ; is God now in 
the least fault? Because thou hast lost thy power of obeying, 
should God therefore lose his right of commanding ? A servant 
that makes himself drunk, and thereby unable to do his master's 
work, is not therefore disobliged from his service. A prodigal 
debtor, though he hath spent his estate in drinking and dicing, 
may justly be called upon, and sued for his debts. 

But thou mayest say, thou didst not consent to trust thy stock in 
Adam's hand. I reply, Hath not a father power to oblige and 
bind his son ? Adam was the father of all, and did bear without 


question an extraordinary natural affection to his children ; his own 
interest was involved with theirs ; he and they lived and died, stood 
and fell together ; he had full power over his own will ; Satan could 
not force him to sin ; his obedience for all was no less easy than for 
himself. There was nothing commanded him but what was equal 
and just, and what he was thoroughly enabled to do. If Adam 
had stood, thou hadst shared in his gains, which had been unspeak- 
ably great ; therefore it is but righteous that thou shouldst share in 
his losses. 

Besides, though thou didst not make any particular choice of 
Adam to stand or fall for thee, yet God made choice of him for 
thee ; who being goodness itself, bears more goodwill to thee than 
thou to thyself; and being wisdom itself, made the wisest choice, 
and took the wisest course, for the good of man. This way made 
most for man's safety and quiet. For if he had stood, all fear of 
losing our happiness had quite vanished, whereas if every man had 
been left to stand or fall for himself, a man would ever have been 
in fear of falling. And again, this was the surest way to have all 
our estates preserved ; for Adam having the charge of the estates 
of all the men that ever should be in the world, he was the more 
pressed to look about him, lest he should be robbed, and undo so 
many thousands. Adam was the head of all mankind, and all 
mankind are members of that head. Now, if the head plot and 
act treason against the king, the whole body is found guilty, and 
the whole body must suffer. If these things satisfy not, God hath 
a day coming, wherein he will declare his own righteous proceed- 
ings before angels and men, Eom. ii. 4.^ 

Reader, take heed of darkening counsel by words or thoughts 
without knowledge, for we are sure that the judgment of God is 
according to truth, Job xxxviii. 2 ; Rom. ii. 2. 

Thirdly, I answer, that thine impotency lieth in thine obstinacy. 
Thou pretendest that thou canst not, but the truth is thou wilt not, 
Luke xix. 41 ; John v. 40. Thou art resolvedly evil, and then fliest 
out against God himself, that thou canst not do good, Eccles. viii. 
11 ; Jer. xliv. 16. 

Thy disease is deadly and dangerous ; the physician of souls 
offereth thee his help, and he is both willing and able to cure thee. 
Now thou wilfully thro west away his physic, feedest on such things 
which thou canst forbear, and knowest will increase thy disease ; and 
then tellest the world that thou art not able to cure thyself. Is 
this honest or rational dealing ? 

^ Shepherd's Sincere Convert, edit. 5, p. 44. 

Chap. XVIII.] by the key of regenekation. 245 

If a naked man be offered clothing, or a man ready to starve 
food, and they throw it away from them, and flatly deny to 
accept of them, who is to blame if these perish with nakedness and 
hunger ? 

Thou hadst a poisonous egg from thy father ; but the serpent 
that stings thee to de9,th is from thy warming and hatching that 
egg in thine own breast. All the men on earth, and all the devils 
in hell, could not damn thee, were it not for thy wilfulness in sin ; 
and canst thou expect that Jesus Christ should save thee against 
thine own will? that he should carry thee to heaven whether thou wilt 
or no ? Believe it, a state of sin and wrath is the matter of thine 
own choice. The door which shuts thee out of the Father's house 
is bolted against thee by thine own hands. 

Answer me this question, or else never more make this objection: 
Art thou willing to turn from sin unto God ? Art thou willing to 
take the Son of God for thy Saviour and Lord ? If thou art will- 
ing, I am sure God is willing ; he hath confirmed it with an oath, 
Ezek. xxxiii. 11. Jesus Christ is willing that sinners should live, 
or he would not so willingly have died such a death ; he hath paid 
the price of thy ransom, and offereth thee a happier estate than 
that of which Adam deprived thee. If thou art willing to accept 
of thy freedom thou mayest have it : 'If any man will, let him 
drink of the water of life freely,' Kev. xxii. ; and if thou art not 
willing, why dost thou complain ? 

Fourthly, I answer, the fault is clearly in thyself, because thou 
neglectest to do what thou hast power to do ; thou hast power, 
without any special grace, to perform duties, to hear the word, to 
pray in secret and with thy family, to forbear thy wicked company, 
by swearing, lying, drinking, scoffing at godliness, and yet dost not 
mind those duties constantly, nor forbear those sins. Shall a servant, 
(friend, be thine own judge,) which is trusted with five pounds to 
employ for his master's honour, spend this in whoring and gaming, 
and then blame his master for not trusting him with thousands ? 
When man broke by his fall, there was some stock left in his 
hands, — not enough to set him up again, but that which might do 
him some good ; now they spend this profusely, they throw away 
those checks of conscience which escaped the ruins of the fall-, 
they corrupt themselves in what they know, and wickedly refuse 
to do what they can, and yet are so impudent as to fly in the face 
of the ever blessed God, that he doth not give them power to do 

Fifthly, Thy weakness and impotency should drive thee to Christ 


for strength ; thy misery by the first Adam should cause thee to 
mind thy recovery by the second Adam. The word of God dis- 
covereth to thee the necessity of regeneration, thine own inability to 
do it, that thou mightest ply the throne of grace, fly to Jesus Christ 
for help and succour, i A man that is lifting a piece of timber, 
and finds it too heavy for him, will call in help ; thus the law is a 
schoolmaster to drive thee to Clu:ist. When thou considerest 
with thyself, that thou must be regenerated or damned in hell for 
ever, and that tliou art altogether unable to renew and sanctify 
thyself, how diligent should it make thee in attendance on Jesus 
Christ for his Spirit and grace! how shouldst thou wait on thy 
Kedeemer, in reading, hearing, praying, meditating, using all 
those means which he hath appointed for the conversion of thy 

Ohj. 2. Secondly, It may be thou wilt say. You press me much 
to pray, and hear, and frequent the means of grace ; but I sin in 
doing so, — I sin in praying, I sin in hearing and singing, and would 
you have me sin ? 

I answer, first. Thou sinnest in eating and drinking, and follow- 
ing thy calling, in not doing these things upon right principles, and 
for right ends, and wilt thou therefore forbear them ? Thou wilt 
pamper and please thy body, right or wrong, not only in the use, 
but even in the abuse, of the creature ; but how ordinary an excuse 
will make thee neglect thy soul ! 

Secondly, Eegenerate men themselves sin in all their performances, 
though not in such a manner as unregenerate men do, and should 
they therefore lay them down ? 

Thirdly, No pretence whatsoever can excuse from obedience to clear 
precepts ; remember also that the commands of God do not inter- 
fere or contradict each other. Now God expressly commandeth 
thee, though thou art in a natural estate, to perform duties. Peter, 
when he had told Simon Magus that he was in the gall of bitter- 
ness, and bond of iniquity, yet he bids him pray to the Lord, Acts 
viii. 22, if peradventure the thoughts of his heart might be forgiven 
him. Our sinning in duties cannot abrogate that law of God which 
enjoins duties ; as God's precepts are not measures of our strength, 
BO they are not lessened by our weakness. The Ninevites, though 
unregenerate, as some think, yet when threatened with destruction, 
did both pray and fast, and found that it was not in vain, Jonah 
iv. 3. 

^ Lex data ut- gratia qusereretur; gratia data ut lex impleretur. — Aug. de Spe., 
lib. i. cap. 19. 

Chap. XYIII.] by the key of regeneration. 247 

Fourthly, Thou sinnest less in performing duties than in neglect- 
ing them. If thou art resolved to go on in a course of sinning, 
and damning thy soul, I know not what to say to thee ; the Lord 
pity thee ; but if thou hast any desire of salvation in a gospel way, 
thou ofFendest far less in waiting on God in his ordinances, than 
those do that refuse them. In performing duties without suitable 
grace thou failest in the manner of divine worship ; others that omit 
duties, fail both in the matter and manner. Thou owest Grod out- 
ward as well as inward service — the confession of thy mouth, as well 
as the conversion of thine heart ; surely then, if thou givest God 
the former, though without the latter, thou dost not sin so much as 
they that give him neither. 

Fifthly, Shouldst thou neglect the means of grace, thou wouldst 
make thy condition, which is already dreadful, to be desperate. 
If ever God meet thee, it must be in his own way, Kom. x. 15, 17 ; 
Prov. viii. I believe thou scarce ever heardest of any man con- 
verted while he cast by the means of grace which God afforded 

Sixthly, If thy condition be so sad that thou sinnest in all thou 
dost, thou hast the more need to hasten out of it. Ah, who would 
be quiet one hour in such an estate wherein whatever he doth is 
abominable to God ? Men that are weak and sickly do not there- 
fore forbear food, because they are not able to digest it well, and 
it may possibly yield some nourishment to their disease, but do 
therefore eat that they may get strength, and be enabled to over- 
come their distempers. 

Seventhly, God may meet with thee in the means of grace. The 
ordinances of God are the golden pipes through which he con- 
veyeth the oil of grace from Christ, the olive-tree. God doth not 
bid thee to wait upon him for nothing ; thousands have found by 
happy experience that they are blessed which watch at wisdom's 
gate, which wait at the posts of her doors, Prov. viii. latter end. 
The Ninevites, when Jonah had foretold their ruin, fast and pray, 
saying, ' Who can tell if God will repent and turn from his fierce 
anger, that we perish not ? ' Jonah iii. 9. So now God hath fore- 
told in his word the eternal destruction of all in thy condition ; do 
thou fast and pray, read and meditate ; who can tell but God may 
turn and have mercy upon thee, pour down his Spirit and holiness 
into thee, that thou perish not ? Thou mayest hear and read of 
the success of others : others have found him in his house of prayer, 
and why not thou ? The mariner cannot make either wind or tide, 
yet he lieth ready upon the waters and waits for them. The 


husbandman cannot cause a harvest, yet he ploughs and soweth, 
hoping that the heavens will help him. Thou canst not heal thj^self ; 
wait therefore at the means. Christ may come when thou little 
thinkest of it and cure thee. God delights to bless man's industry ; 
his usual course is to meet them that meet him: he hath been 
found of them that sought him not, and will he hide himself from 
thee when thou seekest his face ? For thine encouragement thou 
hast his word, which is truth itself, that if thou seek him early 
thou shalt find him, Prov. viii. 17. Whilst there is life there is 
hope ; thou livest under the means, oh resolve to give God no rest 
till he gives thee regeneration. 

Ohj. 3. Thirdly, It is possible thou mayest object, that if thou 
art predestinated to life, thou shalt be saved, though thou neglectest 
all these means of salvation; and if thou art not elected, these will 
do thee no good. 

I answer, first. That this looks like the language of one already 
in hell, though it be found too too often in the mouths of swaggerers 
upon earth. In evil things the devil would make thee separate the 
end from the means ; — think not of hell, but go on in sin, saith he ; 
— in good things the means from the end ; — never trouble thyself 
with holiness, yet doubt not of heaven. 

Secondly, Suppose that thou shouldst live and die in this despe- 
rate conclusion, wouldst not thou certainly be damned ? Without 
all controversy, in the other world thou wouldst find what a fine 
cheat the devil had put upon thee by bringing thee into an opinion 
which will bring thee inevitably into destruction. Believe it, thou 
shalt know in the other world who shall have the worst of such 
cursed conclusions, God or thyself. 

Thirdly, The decree of God is a sealed book, and the names in 
it are secret ; therefore thy part is to look to God's revealed will — 
namely, to make thine election sure, by making thy regeneration 
sure. Dost thou not know that secret things belong to God, but 
revealed things to us and our children ? Oh, it is dangerous to 
meddle with the secrets of princes ! 

Fourthly, This opinion is not believed by thee, but is only pre- 
tended as a cloak for thy wickedness and idleness ; for if thou dost 
believe that if God hath elected, he will save thee, however thou 
livest ; why are not thy practices answerable to such principles ? 
Why dost thou not leave thy ground unsowed, and thy calling 
unfollowed, and say, If God hath decreed me a crop of corn, I shall 
have it, whether I sow my ground or no ; and if God hath decreed 
me an estate, I shall have it, though I never mind my calling ? 

Chap. XVIII.] by the key of eegeneration. , 249 

Why dost thou not neglect and refuse eating, and drinking, and 
sleeping, and say, If God have decreed that I shall live longer, I 
shall do it, though I never eat, or drink, or sleep ? For God hath 
decreed these things concerning thy ground, estate, and natural 
life, as well as concerning thine eternal condition in the other 
world. When I see that thou throwest off all care and means of 
preserving thy life on earth, and expectest notwithstanding to con- 
tinue alive, then I may believe that thy forementioned thoughts 
are really such in regard of eternal life ; but till then I shall be 
confident that this conclusion is only a feigned plea in the behalf 
of the devil and thy carnal corruptions. 

Fifthly, The word of God, which must shortly try thee for thine 
everlasting life or death, doth declare to thee fully and clearly that 
God predestinateth to the means as well as the end. Where then 
wilt thou appear that neglectest the means ? That the means and 
end are joined together in God's decree is fully proved to thee 
in the previous part of this book ; therefore let not Satan so far 
delude thee as to make thee part them. I shall conclude my 
answer to this objection (for truly it is so irrational that I do not 
think it worthy of six lines) with a story which I have sometime 
read. Ludovicus, a learned man of Italy, by sinful beginnings 
came at last to this conclusion. It matters not what I do, or how I 
live ; if I be predestinated to life, I am sure to be saved ; if other- 
wise, I cannot help it. Thus with this desperate opinion he lived 
a long time, till at last he fell dangerously sick, and sent for a 
skilful physician, earnestly d-esiring his advice. The physician, 
beforehand acquainted with his opinion, told him, Surely it will be 
needless to use any means for your recovery ; for if the time of your 
death be come, it will be impossible to avoid it. Ludovicus upon 
this began to consider of his own madness and folly in neglecting 
the means for his soul, bemoaned his sin sincerely, took physic, 
and was through the blessing of God recovered both in soul and 
body. Oh that what I have written might work such an effect 
upon thy spirit ! Consider, friend, if, notwithstanding God's decree, 
means must be used for thy temporal estate, should they not also 
for thine eternal estate ? ' Be not wise in thine own eyes, but fear 
the Lord and depart from evil.' ' Labour to cleanse thy ways by 
taking heed thereto according to his word,' Prov. vii. ; Ps. cxix. 9. 

Eeader, I have now finished this weighty exhortation, which 
doth so nearly concern thy precious soul, and unchangeable condi- 
tion in the other world. Thou seest how large an epistle I have 
written to thee with mine own hand ; many an hour's sleep have I 


lost to awaken tliee out of tliy carnal security : but I am ignorant 
whether the work be done or no, which is of such unspeakable 
weight ; or whether thou art resolved to set upon it, through the 
strength of Christ, in good earnest. I preach to thee, I pray for 
thee, I desire and endeavour so to live as to set thee a pattern. Oh 
that I knew what to do that might be more effectual for thy 
recovery. Friend, ponder seriously the truth and concernment of 
the particulars delivered. Is there not infinite reason why thou 
shouldst speedily and heartily submit to the counsel of the almighty 
God for the enlivening of thy dying soul ? What more weighty 
business hast thou to do than to set upon these things whereby 
thou mayest avoid unquenchable burnings, and arrive at fulness of 
joy and pleasures for evermore ? Is thy ploughing or sowing, thy 
buying or selling, nay, thine eating or drinking, half so necessary 
as the regeneration of thy soul, without which the everlasting God 
hath told thee over and over that thou shalt not be saved ? Oh 
that thou didst believe what it is to be in heaven or hell for ever, 
ever, ever ! 

I have read of a woman, that when her house was on fire she 
was very busy, and wrought hard in carrying out her goods, but at 
last bethought herself of her only child, which she never minded 
before for eagerness about her goods, but had left it burning in 
the flames, and then, when it was too late, she crieth and roareth 
out sadly, my child ! Ah my poor child ! Truly thou art in 
danger, thine everlasting estate is every moment in jeopardy, if 
thou now busiest thyself wholly in scraping, and carking, and caring 
for thy body, forgetting thy poor soul, leaving that to the fire that 
shall never go out. Consider there is a time, I would say an eter- 
nity, coming, when thou wilt think of it, though then it will be too 
late ; and then, oh then, how sadly, how sorrowfully, wilt thou sigh 
and sob, howl and roar, and screech out, my soul, ah my poor 
soul, how wretchedly have I forgot my precious soul ! It is an 
inconceivable mercy that yet thou hast a day of grace wherein 
thou mayest think of and endeavour the good of thy soul. For 
thy soul's sake, for the Lord's sake, dear friend, mind it speedily ; 
hear God how he calleth, or then, though thou callest loud and 
long, he will never, never hear thee. When the mother of Thales 
urged Mm to marry, he told her it was too soon ; she still im- 
portuning him, he told her afterwards that it was too late.i 
Regeneration is thine espousal unto Jesus Christ. The Father of 
eternity calleth upon thee, wooeth, beseeching, commandeth thee, 

^ Dio.a:. Lsert. 

Chap. XTX.] by the key of regeneration. 251 

now while it is called to-day, to accept of his own Son for thy Lord 
and husband ; do not, oh do not say, It is too soon, I will do it 
hereafter. I assure thee, before to-morrow night God may say it 
is too late, and then thou art lost for ever. ' Hear counsel, and 
receive instruction, that thou may est be wise in thy latter end, lest 
thou mourn at last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, 
(when thy soul is in hell tormented,) and say, How have I hated 
instruction, and my heart despised reproof ; and have not obeyed 
the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that 
instructed me !' Prov. xix. 20, and v. 11-13. 


An exhortation to the regenerate. 

First, To give God the glory of that good work which is wrought 
in them. 

I come now, in the last place, to a word of exhortation to the 
regenerate. If without regeneration none can attain salvation, 
then, new-born creature, it highly concerneth thee to be thank- 
ful to God, and to be faithful to men. 

First, Be thou thankful to God. What wilt thou render to the 
Lord for this great inestimable benefit ? Is not thine heart ravished 
in the consideration of that good-will which took such notice of 
thee a poor worm ? ' Praise,' saith the psalmist, ' waiteth for thee 
in Sion,' Ps. Ixv. 1 ; and well it may, for of Sion it may be said, 
this and that man was born in her, Ps. Ixxxvii. 5, 6. A heathen 
had three reasons for which he blessed God. One of them was, 
that he had made him a man, a rational creature. I am sure thou 
hast more cause to bless God that he hath made thee not only a 
man, but a Christian ; not only a rational, but a new creature. 
They that are new-born in Sion have infinite reason to honour 
God with the songs of Sion. If David praised God because he 
was wonderfully made in regard of the frame of his body, Ps. 
cxxxix. 14, 15, what cause hast thou to praise him for the curious 
workmanship of grace in thy. soul ! Thou canst never give too 
great thanks, for whom God hath wrought such great things. Do 
thou say, ' The Lord hath done great things for me ; whereof I am 
glad," Ps. cxxvi. 3. What joy is there at the birth of a great heir 
or a prince ! What ringing of bells, and discharging of guns, and 
making of bonfires, when those infants are born to many crosses as 


well as to crowns, nay, and their sceptres wither and crowns 
moulder away ? Oh the joy which thou may est have in God, wlio 
art born a child of God, an heir of heaven, of a kingdom which can 
never be shaken ! Do wicked men keep the day of their natural 
birth with so much pleasure and delight, when they were therein 
born in sin and brought forth in iniquity ; when by reason of those 
births they are obnoxious to eternal death ? and wilt thou not 
keep the day of thy spiritual birth with joy, whereby thou art 
purified from thy natural pollution, and assured of entrance into 
the purchased possession, where thou shalt be perfectly purified ? 

It was the speech of Jonadab to Amnon, ' Why art thou lean 
from day to day, being the king's son ? ' So say I to thee. Why 
art thou sad, who art God's son? Kejoice, Christian ! thy name 
is written in the book of life, thy soul hath the infallible token of 
special and eternal love. It was matter of great joy that Christ 
was born at Bethlehem. ' Behold, I bring you good tidings of great 
joy. For to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, 
which is Christ the Lord,' Luke ii. 10, 11. But I tell thee, it may 
be matter of greater joy to thee that Christ is born in thine heart. 
For notwithstanding the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, thousands 
and millions go to hell ; but Christ was never formed in any one's 
heart, but that man went to heaven. 

It is reported of Annello, who lately made an insurrection at 
Naples, that considering how mean he was before, and to what 
greatness he was raised, he was so transported that he could not 
sleep. Oh, how shouldst thou be transported with the thoughts of 
that infinite happiness of which thou art an heir ! ' Serve the 
Lord with gladness : come before his presence with singing ; for it 
is he that hath (new) made us, and not we ourselves. Enter into 
his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise : be 
thankful unto him, and bless his name,' Ps. c. per tot. 

Give thanks to God in thine heart by a humble admiration, 
and in thy life by a holy conversation. 

First, Give thanks unto God in thine heart by a humble ad- 
miration of his bottomless mercy. 

If David, when he considered the glorious heavens which God 
had made for man, crieth out so affectionately, ' What is man, that 
thou art mindful of him ? and the son of man, that thou dost thus 
visit him ? ' Ps. viii. ; — surely thou, when thou considerest the work 
of grace and holiness which God hath wrought within thee, and the 
place of glory and happiness which he hath prepared for thee, may- 
est well fall down on thy knees, and looking up to heaven, say, 

Chap. XIX.] by the key of regeneration. 253 

What is man, that thou art so mindful of him ? and what am I, a poor 
son of man, that thou dost thus visit me ? Thou hast made me but 
a httle lower than the angels, and hast crowned me with glory and 
honour, with grace and holiness. ' Who am I, Lord ? and what is 
my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ? And this was yet 
a small thing in thy sight, Lord God ; but thou hast spoken of 
thy servant's house for a great while to come. And is this the 
manner of men, Lord God ? ' 2 Sam. vii. 18, 19. 

Friend, let free grace have the honour and glory of all the good 
bestowed on thee, or expected by thee. Alas ! who made thee to 
differ from others ? wast not thou in the same lump of clay with 
them that perish ? now that the potter should make thee a vessel 
of honour, to be set upon the high shelf of heaven, as the martyr's 
phrase is, when others are vessels of dishonour, and firebrands of 
hell, hast not thou unspeakable cause to wonder at his mercy and 
good- will towards thee ? That thy person should be justified, when 
others are under the guilt of all their transgressions, is merely from 
mercy, Eom. iii. 24, and v. 18, 19. ' The free gift came upon all 
to justification of life.' That thy nature should be sanctified, when 
others are left in their filth and pollution, is altogether from his 
grace and favour. ' Among whom we all had our conversation in 
time past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh 
and of the mind ; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as 
others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love where- 
with he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened 
us together with Christ : that in the ages to come he might shew 
the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us in 
Christ Jesus,' Eph. ii. 1-10. That thou shalt be saved with a 
great and glorious salvation, when others shall be damned with a 
grievous and endless destruction ; that thou shalt enjoy rivers of 
pleasures, when others must be tormented day and night with in- 
tolerable pain, is only from God's good pleasure, Titus iii. 3, 4. 
The jewel which enricheth thee is a gift, John iv. 10. The hand 
which receiveth it is a gift, Phil. i. 29.1 It is worthy thy observa- 
tion how full the Spirit of God is in excluding thee and everything 
in thee from having any hand in meriting thine acceptance here, 
or inheritance hereafter ; not by works, Rom. ix. 11 ; not of works^ 
Eom. xi. 6 ; not according to works, 2 Tim. i. 9 ; mthout works, 
Eom. iv. 6. Now if mercy doth all for thee, should not mercy 

^ Faith justifieth, not as manus laborantis, which earns a penny, but as manus 
mendicanlis, that receiveth an alms or jewel by which the soul is justified and en- 


have the honour of all from thee ? What did God see in thee more 
than in others, that he chose thee to glory ? What did he foresee 
in thee more than in others, that he called thee by his grace ? Thou 
wast not only empty of, hut contrary to, all saving good ; many a 
motion of the Spirit didst thou neglect, many an invitation from 
Christ didst thou reject. How long did he strive with thine unto- 
ward heart, before he conquered it ! how many a time did he call 
when thou wouldst not hear ! and knock when thou wast so far 
from opening, that thou didst bolt and bar the door against him ! 
How justly might he have sent thee, as well as thousands of others, 
to hell ! what mercies didst thou abuse, what means of grace didst 
thou misimprove ! Yet how did he wait upon thee by his un- 
wearied patience, woo thee by many a good providence, and at last 
win thee to himself, notwithstanding all thy resistance ! I tell 
thee, ' It is not in him that willeth, nor in him that runneth, but 
in God that sheweth mercy,' Kom. ix. 16. Oh therefore admire 
mercy ! say in thine heart, I was a blasphemer, I was a persecutor, 
and injurious, but I obtained mercy, I thank God through Jesus 
Christ my Lord. Now to the King immortal, invisible, eternal, be 
honour and glory ; blessed be God who hath begotten me again to 
a lively hope of an inheritance that fades not away, 1 Pet. i. 3. 
Wonder at God's distinguishing mercy : ' Lord, how is it that thou 
revealest thyself to us, and not to the world ? ' said the disciple, John 
xiv. 22. Shouldst not thou think. Lord, how is it that I, unworthy I, 
should be chosen, when others are rejected? that I should be called 
when others are neglected, that I, who came into the world with the 
same rage against God and godliness, and did many a day run with 
others to the same excess of riot, should turn about, be in love with 
holiness, and run the ways of thy commandments, when many 
others still wallow in their wickedness, and are every hour hasten- 
ing unto hell ? Lord, how is it that thou hast revealed thyself to 
me, and not to the world ? 

Plutarch wonders how the fig-tree, having that extreme bitter- 
ness in its leaves, branches, and stock, should yet bring forth sweet 
fruit. Hast thou not more cause to wonder, how thou, so extremely 
polluted, being in the very gall of bitterness by nature, and having 
a fountain of poison in thee, shouldst ever come to bear good fruit, 
and send forth pleasant streams ; truly thou mayest have the same 
motto with the olive, which groweth in the craggy clefts without 
moisture or rooting, a coelo, from heaven ; thou couldst never do it 
unless it were give thee from above ; therefore, as thy piety came 
down from heaven, so let thy praise go up to heaven. Elisabeth 

Chap. XIX.] by the key of regeneration. 255 

wondered that the mother of the Lord should come unto her house ; 
oh do thou stand amazed that the Lord of that mother should come 
into thy heart ! ' Give thanks night and day to the Father, who 
hath made thee meet to be partaker of the inheritance of the 
saints in light,' 1 Col. i. 12, 13. 

Secondly, Give thanks to God in thy life by a holy conversation. 
As thou shouldst see thy dignity and take comfort in it, so also 
consider thy duty, and take care about it. God hath done singular 
things for thee ; what singular things wilt thou do for him ? The 
life of thankfulness consisteth in the thankfulness of thy life. Oh 
the bonds, the infinite obligations by which thou art tied to thy 
Saviour ! Great things are bestowed on thee, and great things are 
expected from thee. Thy life should be answerable to thy birth and 
breeding ; thou art born of God, hast blood-royal running in thy 
veins, art brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, 
do not therefore stain the house of which thou descendest, nor dis- 
grace the family of faith to which thou belongest. ' Should such a 
man as I fly ? ' said Nehemiah : think with thyself, Should such a 
man as I, that am enrolled in the book of life, regenerated by the 
Spirit of God, redeemed from my vain conversation with the pre- 
cious blood of Christ ; should such a man as I dishonour my 
Father, grieve my Comforter by frothy language, unseemly car- 
riage, or being guilty of anything in my practices that is unsuitable 
to my great and honourable privilege ? The Father hath chosen 
me to be a vessel of honour, shall I defile myself with the filth of 
sin ? The Son hath bought me with a vast sum, shall not I yield 
myself up wholly to his service ? The Spirit hath made my heart its 
habitation, and shall I suffer in it the least unholiness ! I can never 
pay God for his boundless love, but I will endeavour to praise 
him by a spotless life. 

friend, walk worthy of the calling wherewith thou art called, 
Eph. iv. 1. There is a comeliness peculiar to thine effectual cal- 
ling. If a scholar hath another manner of carriage than a scullion, 
and a courtier than a carter, surely a Christian must lead a differ- 
ent life from them that are dead in sins and trespasses. 

Thy calling is high, Phil. iii. 14, and therefore thou shouldst 
walk' above the men of tlie world. Men that are called to high 
offices will carry themselves answerable to their places ; princes do 
not live like peasants. Thou art called to be a son of God, a co- 
heir with Christ, a citizen of Sion ; the son of a king must, like 
Absalom, be without blemish from top to toe : ' That ye may be 
blameless and harmless, the eons of God without rebuke,' Phil. ii. 


15. Adoption is a translation out of one family into another, and 
doth disoblige thee from the laws of Satan and his family, and 
oblige thee to the rules and orders of Christ and his house, into 
which thou art taken. Thou art called to be a king, Kev. i. 5. ' It 
is not for kings to drink wine, nor princes strong drink/ Prov. 
xxxi., that is, immoderately ; such a sin is very bad in a subject, 
but much worse in a sovereign, as a spot in scarlet is worse than 
in sackcloth. The transgressions of others have much rebellion 
and obstinacy in them ; but thy sins have more of unkindness and 
treachery, as being against the covenant : thou art called to reign 
with Christ in heaven, Oh walk worthy of him that hath called 
thee unto his kingdom and glory, 1 Thes. ii. 12. Thou that hast 
hopes to be like Christ in glory, shouldst labour, as for life, to be 
like him in grace, 1 John iii. 3. Cassar, when he heard that Brutus 
conspired against him, would not believe it, but said. He looks for 
this skin, meaning, he expecteth to be my heir, to succeed me in 
the empire, and therefore he will not be so unworthy as to plot 
against me.i Keader, hath not Christ more cause to expect that 
thy present deportment should be answerable to thy future prefer- 

Thy calling is holy, 2 Tim. i. 9, and therefore thy carriage should 
be holy ; other callings may put glory upon a man, but cannot in- 
fuse grace into a'man ; other callings may change thy condition, but 
this hath changed thy disposition. Thou art called to be a saint, 
shouldst thou not then live like a saint ? 1 Cor. i. 2. Alexander 
would often bid a captain of his name, Kemember that thou art 
called Alexander ; 2 that the captain, remembering his name, might 
do nothing unworthy of it. Truly so say I to thee. Remember that 
thou art called to be a saint, to be a Christian, and do not by the 
unexemplariness of thy life cause that worthy name by which thou 
art called to be blasphemed. 

Thy calling is heavenly, Heb. iii. 1, and therefore thy conversa- 
tion should be in heaven ; it is from God, and therefore must lead 
thee to God. Oh how stately is the deportment of worldlings, when 
they are called to high employments ! How little should all the 
things on earth be in thine eyes who art fixed in heaven ! Themis- 
tocles walking with one by the sea-side, and seeing a precious 
treasure on the earth, said to his fellow-traveller. Do thou take it 
up, for thou art not Themistocles. If the men of the world, whose 
portions are in this life, have their affections set on things below, 
and their conversations on earth, remember that thy treasure is in 
1 Plut. in Vit Jul. Csos. ^ Recordare nominis Alexander. 

Chap. XX.] by the key of kegeneration. 257 

heaven, and thine heart must be there also ; live as one that 
belongs to another country. In a word, study, strive, labour, 
endeavour, watch, pray, hear, read, meditate, that thou mayest in 
private, in public, upon all occasions, in all companies, in all 
manner of conversation, ' shew forth the praises of him who hath 
called thee out of darkness into his marvellous light,' 1 Pet. ii. 


A second exhortation to the regenerate, to do ivhat they can for the 
conversion of others. 

Secondly, As thou shouldst be thankful to God, so also faithful 
to men. Thou art converted thyself, do thine utmost to convert 
others. The lepers coming into the Syrian camp, and finding food 
enough to relieve themselves, and many others ready to perish with 
hunger, they first feasted themselves, and afterwards say one to 
another, ' We do not well ; this day is a day of good tidings, and 
we hold our peace ; if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief 
will befall us : now therefore come, that we may go and tell the 
king's household,' 2 Kings vii. 9. The time was when thou, like 
the lepers, was famishing thy soul with the husks of the world ; 
now God hath fed thee with the fat things of his house, dost thou 
well to hold thy peace ? Consider them that are pinched with 
hunger, and call them to God's courts ; tell them what large pro- 
vision he maketh, how the table is spread, his oxen, his fatlings 
are killed, all things ready ; he wanteth only comers and company. 
Thou dost well to take hold for thyself ; but thou dost ill if thou 
withholdest from others. 

Israel was commanded to pity strangers, because they were once 
strangers in the land of Egypt. Shouldst not thou compassionate 
them that are strangers from the covenant of promise, aliens from 
the commonwealth of Israel, carried captive by the devil at his 
will, considering that thou wast in that house of bondage, in as 
great slavery to Satan, and subjection to sin, as others ; and it was 
nothing but grace and mercy that redeemed thee. ' Put them in 
mind,' saith the apostle, ' to be gentle, shewing all meekness unto 
all men.' Why, upon what consideration ? ' For we ourselves also 
were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts 
and pleasures ; but after that the kindness and love of God our 

VOL. V. K 


Saviour towards man appeared, not by works of righteousness 
which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the 
washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost,' Tit. 
iii. 1-5. 

Wicked men are like those that are drowning, they catch hold 
on others, and if it be possible, make them sink with themselves ; 
godly men must be like candles, which being lighted, kindle others. 

Grace is compared to oil, which is of a diffusive, spreading 
nature. Mat. xxv. 4 ; and it doth, like the oil in the widow's barrel, 
increase by pouring out ; the oil never ceased running, till she 
ceased pouring. The more thou improvest thy little stock of grace, 
the more thy master will trust thee with. Peter Martyr speaketh 
of some mountains of salt in Cumana, which, whilst they lay com- 
mon for the good of many, never wasted, though merchants carried 
away in abundance ; but when they were once engrossed to one 
man's use, they consumed away. He that hath greatest layings 
out for God, shall'have greatest comings in from God. The loaves 
increased not whilst they were whole in the basket, but whilst 
they were breaking and distributing to others. Women's milk in- 
creaseth by drawing ; if the breast be not drawn, it will dry up. 
He that soweth liberally, shall reap liberally. Believe it, friend, 
the only way to make thy one pound ten pounds, is by trading with 
it. I speak not of thy intruding into the minister's calling, but of 
dealing faithfully with the souls of thy friends and relations in thy 
place and calling. 

Truly one would think that every time thou considerest the 
dreadful danger of poor sinners, thine heart should almost bleed 
within thee ! Jesus Christ groaned and wept for dead Lazarus. 
How did David mourn for dead Absalom ! At a funeral, though 
there be much cost, yet there is no cheer, because one is dead. 
What bowels of pity shouldst thou have towards them that are 
dead spiritually, nay, dying eternally ! Dost thou not remember, 
there was a time when no eye pitied thee, when God passed by 
thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood ! yea, when thou 
wast in thy blood, he said unto thee, live ; behold, that time was 
the time of love to thy soul. Canst thou now behold others wallow- 
ing in their pollutions, weltering in their soul blood, and thine eyes 
not affect thine heart with pity to them ? Especially we that are 
parents should use all means for the regeneration of our children 
and relations : ' We have a little sister that hath no breasts, what 
shall we do for her ? ' said the Jews, Cant. viii. 8. Have not we 
little children that have no Christ, no hope, no grace ? Oh what 

Chap. XX.] by the key of regeneration. 259 

shall we do for them in the day that they shall be spoken for? 
When Samson had found honey in the carcase of the lion, he did 
not only eat himself, but carried some to his father and mother ; 
thou hast found honey and sweetness in the carcase of the lion of 
the tribe of Judah, in a crucified Christ, wilt thou not endeavour 
that thy relations and friends may share with thee ? 

Friend, canst thou think, without trembling, on the unnatural- 
ness of most fathers and mothers towards their children ? All their 
care is to get earth enough for them, but never mind the instating 
them in heaven ; the ostrich leaves her eggs in the earth, and warm- 
eth them in the dust, where the foot crusheth them, and the wild 
beast breaks them, Job xxxix. 14, 15. Thus worldly men warm 
the fruit of their bodies in the earth, are diligent to leave them 
dust enough, but consider not that the foot of God's fury will crush 
them, and the roaring lion devour them, if they be not regenerated. 
Oh the many soul murders which worldly parents commit ! But if 
thou art born again, I am persuaded, nay, I am confident, of better 
things of thee ; thou darest not but teach thy sons God's ways, and 
labour that thy servants may be converted to him. Christianity 
doth not diminish, but rectify thy natural affection ; it causeth 
thee to love thy relations, not less, but better than thou didst before. 
Grace makes thy love to run out towards their souls, and their 
spiritual and eternal good. Oh what an honour and privilege is it, 
that thou mayest be instrumental for the saving of souls, James v. 
2, 20, which that thou mayest be, take these three words for thine 

First, Be sure that thou set them a good pattern. Let thy life be 
so exact, that others may write after thy copy with credit. Look 
on thyself as new born for this end, that thou mightest adorn the 
doctrine of God thy Saviour. Parents and masters are often 
authentic patterns to all their inferiors ; their zeal will provoke 
many, and if they fall, as tall cedars they beat down many shrubs. 
Oh, therefore, do nothing of which thou mayest not say to thy family 
and neighbours, as Gideon to his soldiers, ' Look on me, and do like- 
wise,' Judges vii. 17. It is reported of the hares of Scythia, that 
they teach their young ones to leap from bank to bank, from rock 
to rock, by leaping before them, which otherwise they would never 
learn ; and by this means, when they are hunted, no beast can over- 
take them. Do thou set others a pattern, in the performance of 
duties, and in the exercise of graces, that others learning by thine 
example, may thereby be secured from Satan, the great destroyer. 

The moral is good of the fable. The old crab bid the young one 


go forwards. Shew me the way, saith the young crab ; the mother 
goeth backward and sideling, the daughter followeth her, saying, 
Lo, I go just as you do. Truly thus thy little ones will quickly 
imitate thy doings. Be careful, therefore, how thou livest ; walk 
circumspectly, consider of every expression and action, not only 
whether it be lawful, but also whether it be expedient and ex- 

Thy religious pattern may do more good than the minister's 
preaching ; they preach with their lips one day in a week, but thou 
by thy life preachest all the week long, 1 Pet. ii. 12. Have thy 
conversation honest among others, that they may glorify God in the 
day of their visitation, 1 Pet. ii. 12. 

Secondly, Let thy prayers be constant and instant for their re- 
generation. How can I see the death of my child ? said Hagar. 
Alas ! how canst thou see the eternal death of thy dear children ? 
When thou kneelest to prayer with thy wife, children, and ser- 
vants, and considerest that death will shortly break up thy house, 
and then heaven and hell will claim their due ; the regenerate shall 
go to heaven, the unregenerate to hell ; thou and they, who live to- 
gether, are likely to be parted asunder for ever ; good Lord, how 
shouldst thou pray for them ! with what fervency, with what im- 
portunity ! Thou art new born, and knowest that hell and heaven 
are no jesting matters ; doth not thine heart ache to think that any 
of thine should dwell in everlasting burnings ? oh go to Christ, as 
the centurion for his sick child, ' Sir, come down ere my child die,' 
John iv. 49. Lord, come down ere my poor children die for ever. 
And as the woman of Canaan, ' Have mercy on me, Lord, thou 
Son of David, my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil ; Lord, 
help me. If thou canst do any thing, help me.' Lord, pity poor 
children, and form thy dear Son in them. Thus carry thy little 
children to Jesus Christ, and entreat him to put his hands on them, 
and bless them. Hannah by prayer obtained a Samuel ; oh let us 
pray hard that all our sons may be as gracious as Samuel, and all 
our daughters as full of good works as Dorcas. Xenophon said he 
never prayed that his son might live long, but that he might live 
well. Augustine was a child of many prayers, and did not perish. 

Thirdly, Do thine endeavour to regenerate them, by instructing 
them in the precepts of God. David and Bathsheba were often 
dropping instruction into their son Solomon, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9 ; 
Prov. iv. 3-10. Pious education hath made a happy renovation in 
several souls : ' Teach a child the trade in his youth, and he shall 
not depart from it when he is old,' Prov. xxii. 6. Others teach 

Chap. XX.] by the key of kegenekation. 261 

their children to lie and steal, and to curse and swear. I have 
read a story of a wicked mother, that persuaded her daughter to 
yield to the lust of a rich man, in hope that he would marry her ; 
the daughter did yield, but quickly after fell sick and died ; the 
mother hereupon fell distracted, and cried out often, my daugh- 
ter's soul, my daughter's soul ! I have murdered my daughter's 
soul. If others entice their relations to uncleanness, shall not we 
encourage ours to holiness ! Whilst this world lasteth the devil 
will have servants ; many, many fathers bring up their children to 
his hand. Oh wilt not thou endeavour that, when thou art dead, 
thy little ones may be a generation arising to praise God ! Truly 
thy love to God must needs oblige thee to do thine utmost, that his 
vast perfections and infinite excellencies may be declared and ad- 
mired throughout all generations. 

Melanchthon, on a day of prayer, went out a little from his com- 
pany very sorrowful, and returned in a short time to them very 
joyful ; of which Luther asking him the reason, he gave this ac- 
count. That there were young captains training up, for he had 
heard many children learning and repeating their sound catechism, 
which would defend the cause of Christ. The good man was ex- 
tremely cheered, that though the pope and emperor sought to un- 
dermine the true religion, yet young children were learning to 
defend it. Sure I am, thou wilt die with the more comfort, if thou 
canst have hopes that after thy decease the blessed God shall be 
exalted, and his gospel propagated in the place where thou dost 
dwell. And oh what a glorious heaven upon earth will thy house 
be, if the gracious God shall so prosper thy pattern, prayers, and 
precepts, that, as thou, like the sun, so thy wife like the moon, and 
thy children and servants like the stars, may all shine and sparkle 
with the light and heat of real holiness ! 

To end all, look on thy children, servants, and neighbours as 
passengers in a boat, and do thou with thy fellow-converts row hard, 
make use of all winds, improve every opportunity to land them all 
safely at the haven of heaven. 

Soli Deo Gloria. 




To the Eight Honourable Charles, Earl of Carnarvon, Lord 
Dormer, Viscount Ascot, Baron of Wing, &c. 

May it please your Lordship, for so mean a thing as I am to 
address myself to a personage of your honour and quality may 
cause wonder in others, and abashment in myself, but for some 
considerations which may give them satisfaction, and me boldness 
and encouragement. 

What I now present your Honour is a poor widow's mite ; such 
as, being cast into the treasury of God's temple, may contribute 
something to repair the breaches of collapsed piety, and such as, I 
hope, the Lord of lords will not despise. 

Do I call it mine? I must correct myself, it is indeed your 
Honour's, and my tendering it to your acceptance is but my paying 
you your own : it is a legacy left you by my dear deceased hus- 
band, who commanded me on his deathbed, in all humble wise, to 
present it to your Honour, and publish it imder your protection ; so 
that, although it was left with me, it was left by him for your 

Do I call it a legacy ? I must again correct, and confess it is a 
due debt ; for our poor family stands most deeply obliged to your 
Honour, who have been pleased to exercise a generous bounty to- 
wards us, and such as is suitable to none but a noble mind. 

The debt is humbly acknowledged by us, and shall be undoubt- 
edly repaid by the Lord, to whom it was lent. Your Lordship 
may with comfort read the specialty in God's own word. Pro v. xix. 
17, which is very good security. But as for us, alas ! what have 
we to return, except these gleanings of the fruits of my dear hus- 
band's labours, even some of those which were brought forth when 
he last laboured in the Lord's vineyard ? 


I desire for ever to adore the goodness of God towards me, whose 
weak condition seemed to cry, like that woman of the wives of the 
sons of the prophets unto EUsha, saying, ' Thy servant my husband 
is dead, and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord/ &c., 
2 Kings iv. 1. To which cry your Lordship's overflowing munifi- 
cence hath answered very like the man of God, ver. 7, ' Go, and 
sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of 
the rest.' 

As for the matter of this discourse, it is not proper for me to 
reflect thereon. Only I have a good confidence, that, as your 
Honour hath been pleased to cast a favourable eye on other of my 
husband's works, professing profit and pleasure in the reading of 
them ; so these words of your dying servant will not be unsuccess- 
ful, but have the like good acceptance, and leave the like impres- 
sions in your noble breast. 

Nor will it, I hope, be interpreted base flattery what is here ex- 
pressed, barely in token of sincere gratitude and due resentment of 
your Lordship's favours. But if the world shall be so disingenious, 
I shall cease from speaking before men, and direct my supplications 
to the most high God. 

May the Lord of heaven prosper your Honour in the ample in- 
heritance of your fathers ; may it blossom abundantly, and rejoice 
even with joy and singing; ' the glory of Lebanon be given unto it, 
the excellency of Carmel and Sharon,' Isa. xxxv. 2. May your 
Honour on earth be daily increased, as of those who did worthily in 
Ephrata, and were famous in Bethlehem, Kuth iv. 11 ; and let 
your house be like the house of Pharez. Nay, lastly and lastingly, 
as the crowning mercy of all, the special favour of the King of 
heaven be placed upon you, to be your sun and shield, to give you 
grace and glory, Ps. Ixxxiv. 11. In all respects blessed be he of 
the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living, and to 
the dead, Euth ii. 20. So humbly and heartily prayeth, 

My Lord, your Honour's most obliged and thankful servant, 

Joanna Swinnock. 


Good Eeader, — Being requested to recommend this treatise to 
tby acceptance, I readily complied with the motion, induced there- 
unto partly by my respect to the author, Mr Swinnock, a name 
well known to most serious Christians by his former savoury and 
useful works, published for the good of the church, before one of 
which I have expressed my just esteem of his gifts and graces in 
an epistle prefixed, and therefore commendation is not my busi- 
ness now, it needeth not but attestation ; and to assure thee that 
this piece is his, delivered by his own hands to his son, a little 
before his, to him blessed, but, alas ! to us untimely death,i and 
accordingly thou wilt find the one spirit of the author in it, and 
the same holy, lively way of discoursing, which is so remarkable in 
his other writings, partly with respect to the matter, which is about 
the eternal recompenses, as they are represented by our Lord in a 
scheme or draught of the last judgment. We are hedged within 
the compass of our duty both on the right hand and on the left ; 
on the right hand, with the hopes of a most blessed everlasting 
estate ; on the left, with the fears of endless and never-ceasing tor- 
ments. Keflections on the former are comfortable ; what is sweeter 
than to live in the expectation and foresight of endless glory ? But 
the consideration of the latter is also profitable. We need many 
sermons about hell, to keep us out of hell ; therefore in this treatise 
the worthy author insisteth on the dreadful doom and sentence 
that shall pass on the wicked at the last day. 

There is also another thing largely represented which is of great 
use, the heinousness of sins of omission. Sin in the general is a 
transgression of the law, 1 John iii. 4. Now the law may be 
transgressed either by omitting what is commanded as a duty to 
God, or by committing what is forbidden when we directly trans- 

^ He died Nov. 10, 1673, in the 46th year of his age. 


gress an affirmative precept, that is a sin of omission ; but wlien 
we do anything against a negative precept, that is a sin of commis- 
sion ; in both there is disobedience, and so by consequence con- 
tempt of God's authorities. When Saul had not done vrhat God 
bids him to do, he telleth him that rebellion is as a sin of witch- 
craft, and stubbornness as idolatry, 1 Sam. xv. 13 ; implying that 
omission to be rebellion and stubbornness, for which God would 
rend the kingdom from liim. So for a sin of omission he put by 
Eli's family from the priesthood, 1 Sam. iii. 15 : 'I will judge his 
house for ever, because his sons had made themselves vile, and he 
restrained them not.' Now the more necessary the duties omitted 
are, the greater is the sin, as Heb. ii. 3, especially if the omission 
be total, Ps. xiv. 3 ; Jer. ii. 32 ; or when the duty is most season- 
able, Prov. svii. 16 ; or the performance easy, for this is to stand 
with God for a trifle ; he is denied a drop that would not give a 
crumb, Luke xvi. 24 ; or when we are fully convinced that it is 
our duty, James iv. 17. Briefly, these sins of omission are the 
ruin of most people in the world ; yea, the children of God oftener 
offend in these kind of sins than in fouler excesses. Oh, how many 
of them go out of the world bewailing their neglects and omissions. 
The best might have done much more for God than ever they have 
yet done. But I detain thee too long from the book itself ; read 
and peruse it, and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. 
— I am, 

Thine in all Christian observation, 

Tho. Manton, D.D. 


Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye 
cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 
for I loas an hungered, and ye gave me no meat : I ivas thirsty, 
and ye gave me no drink. — Mat. xxv. 41, 42. 


The preface and introduction to the text. 

Though the wise God is pleased now and then to keep a petty 
sessions at this day, and to execute vengeance on some sinners, lest 
men should question his providence, and but on some, lest they 
should question his patience; yet the great assize, when justice 
shall have a solemn, public, and general triumph, will be the last 
day. This world is the theatre whereon mercy is acting its part 
every moment : if justice peep out a little, as the sun out of a cloud, 
it is quickly recalled and hidden again ; it will not appear in its full 
beauty, and glory, and brightness, till all nations appear in the 
other world. Here all things come alike to all : there is one event 
to the righteous, and to the wicked ; to the clean, and to the unclean ; 
to him that sweareth, and to him that feareth an oath, Eccles. ix. 
2. The sun of prosperity shineth, and the showers of adversity fall 
on both promiscuously. If there be any difference for the better, 
it is commonly on the worser side, Psalm Ixxiii. 3-8. But 
there when the last trump shall sound, the living be changed, 
the dead raised, and all shall appear before the judgment seat of 
Christ ; when the saints shall be called, honoured, acquitted, and 
rewarded ; when the sinner shall be arraigned, accused, condemned, 

270 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. I. 

and executed ; when the judge sliall say to the saints on his right 
hand, ' Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared 
for you from the foundation of the world ;' and to the sinners on 
his left hand, ' Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, pre- 
pared for the devil and his angels ;' then men vi^ill see and say, 
' Verily there is a reward for the righteous ; surely there is a God 
that judgeth in the world ;' then men shall return and discern a 
difference between the righteous and the wicked, between him that 
serveth God, and him that serveth him not. 

In relation to this great and general judgment, we may consider : 

1. The efficient or judge : ver. 31, ' The Son of man shall come 
in his glory, with all his holy angels, and shall sit on the throne of 
his glory.' He that was judged by man, shall be judge of men. 

2. The subject or persons to be judged, all the world: ver. 32, 
' And before him shall be gathered all nations/ The congregation of 
the whole world together shall follow upon the sound of the trum- 
pet. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, 
(for the trumpet shall sound,) the dead, indefinitely, shall be raised, 
1 Cor. XV. 52. Some understand the sound of the trumpet meta- 
phorically, for the virtue and power of Christ, whereby he shall cite 
and cause all the world to appear before him. Others take it 
literally and properly, as God appeared on mount Sinai, when he 
gave the law with the long and loud sound of a trumpet, Exod. 
xix. 19. So he will appear at the great day with the sound of a 
trump, when he comes to reckon with men for the breach of the 
law : Mat. xxiv. 31, ' And he shall send his angels with a great 
sound of a trumpet.' The Jews gathered their solemn assemblies 
together with the sound of a trumpet. 

And God will gather the greatest assembly of men that ever was 
with the sound of a trumpet. Adam shall then see all his children 
to the hundredth, and thousandth, and hundred thousandth gener- 

3. The form or proceeding at that day, from ver. 32 to the end. 

4. The event or execution of the sentence, ver. 1. And these 
shall go into everlasting punishment, (as Haman's face was covered 
when the sentence was given, and presently led forth to execution,) 
and the righteous into life eternal. 

About the form or proceeds of this day, wherein the text lieth, 
these four particulars are observable : 

1. The separation of persons. 

2. The setting them in their places. 

3. The manifestation of persons and things. 

Chap. I.] the sinner's last sentence. 271 

4. The pronunciation of the sentence. 

1. The separation of persons. Now the tares and wheat grow 
together, but then they shall be parted asunder : ver. 32, ' And 
before him shall be gathered all nations ; and he shall separate them 
one from another, as a shepherd separateth his sheep from the 
goats.' Here they mingle together in the same house, and family, 
and society, but there the devil's herd of goats shall be by them- 
selves, and Christ's flock by themselves. The wicked shall be 
gathered together, and he shall bind them in bundles, Mat. xiii, 
41, and the godly gathered together. The sinner shall have his 
desire, not to be troubled with admonitions or singularity of the 
precise ; and the saint shall have his prayer, not to be vexed with 
the filthy conversation of the profane, Ps. xxvi. 4-7, ' I have 
not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissem- 
blers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers ; and will not 
sit with the wicked,' &c. 

2. The setting them in their places. Now the vilest men are 
exalted, and the most virtuous debased, but then it shall be other- 
wise. And then he shall set the sheep on his right hand, and the 
goats on the left, ver. 33. Here the godly are set in low places, on 
footstools, the wicked in high places, on thrones ; but there the 
godly shall be honoured, and the wicked disgraced. The right 
hand is a place of the greatest honour. To sit at a king's right 
hand is the highest seat next him. To sit on king Solomon's right 
hand was the honour he gave his mother, 1 Kings ii. 19. To sit 
at the right hand of God is peculiar to Christ, whom he hath 
honoured and exalted above principalities and powers : ' To which 
of the angels said he at any time, Sit thou on my right hand ? Eph. 
XX. 21 ; Heb. i. 13. And to sit on the right hand of Christ will 
be the honour of his spouse, his queen : ' At thy right hand was the 
queen in gold of Ophir,' Ps. xlv. 9. They who are now placed at 
the left hand of earthly princes, will then be placed at the right 
hand of the King of kings, of the blessed and glorious potentate ; 
and they who are now placed at kings' right hands, will be placed 
at Christ's left hand. 

3. The manifestation of persons and things : 
(1.) Of persons. 

[1.] Of men. All men shall then be pellucid and transparent as 
crystal. ' We must all appear, toj)? <yap irdvTa<i rjfid<i (f>av6p(odr]vac 
Set: 2 Cor. v. 10, Tor we must all appear before the judgment 
seat of Christ,' <f}av€pQ)6i]vai. The word signifieth a clear and a 
permanent manifestation. Such a clear manifestation of men, that 

272 THE sinner's last sentence. [CnAr. I. 

every one may see into them, what they are, and what they have 
been ; and such a permanent manifestation as will last for ever, ac- 
cording to the Greek scholiast on 1 Tim. iii. 1 8. Good men shall 
then be manifested ; their principles, their practices, their designs 
and purposes, and their uprightness in all, to their glory and praise. 
They who are now accused of hypocrisy, and obstinacy, and pride, 
and peevishness, because they could not swim with the stream, 
nor run with others to the same excess of riot, will then be mani- 
fested to be men of integrity and humility, and to have declined 
the profane courses of others, not out of foolish preciseness, or 
needless scrupulosity, or humoursomeness, but out of conscience to 
the commands of God. Their faith, and love, and sincerity, will 
be found to their praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of 
Jesus : ' When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye 
appear with him in glory,' 1 Pet. i. 7. They who are now despised, 
and reproached, and trampled on as the dirt and dtmg and filth of 
the earth, will then be manifested to be God's jewels, Christ's 
glory, and the temples of the Holy Ghost : ' When Christ who is 
our life shall appear, we shall appear with him in glory,' Col. iii. 4. 
Then there will be a manifestation of the sons of God, Eom. 
viii. 19. 

Bad men will then be manifested to be the servants of unright- 
eousness, the children of the devil, the slaves and vassals of corrup- 
tion, and notwithstanding all their glorious profession, and specious 
pretences, to have been but as a painted sepulchre, gaudy without, 
and rottenness within ; or as a curious chimney-piece, without 
white and shining, but within full of soot and blackness : ' He will 
bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest 
the thoughts of the heart.' 

[2.] Of the Lord Jesus Christ. We read of the appearing of 
Christ at that day, 1 Pet. i. 7 ; Col. iii. 4. He was veiled, and hid, 
and obscured, when on earth, but then he shall be revealed and 
discovered to the whole world : ' When the Lord Jesus shall be re- 
vealed from heaven,' 2 Thes. i. 7. And it will be a glorious reve- 
lation : ' Looking for the glorious appearing of the great God, and 
our Saviour Jesus Christ,' Titus ii. 13. 

In this world he appeared as the Son of man, as one born of a 
woman, and in the form of a servant ; but then he shall appear as 
the Son of God, as the only begotten of the Father, and as the head 
of principalities and powers, and as the heir of all things : Mat. 
xvi. 27, ' For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, 
with his angels : and then he shall reward every man according to 

Chap. I.] the sinner's last sentence. 273 

his works.'' He shall come in the glory of his Father, i.e., in that 
glory and honour which is proper and peculiar to the divine nature. 

At his first appearing a weak mortal man was his harbinger, to 
prepare his way before him. Mat. iii. 3, 4 ; but at his second ap- 
pearing, a mighty immortal archangel shall be his forerunner, and 
go before him : ' For the Lord himself shall descend with a shout, 
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God,' 
1 Thes. iv. 16. At his first appearing he was accompanied with a 
few poor, mean fishermen, but at his second appearing he shall be 
attended with his mighty angels, 2 Thes. i. 7 ; with all his holy 
angels. Mat. vi. 27 ; with the thousand thousand that are before 
him, and the ten thousand times ten thousand that minister to him. 

At his first appearing he came as a servant to minister unto 
others, and to be abased : he came riding upon an ass. Mat. xxi. 5, 
and xxviii. But at his second appearing he shall come in the 
clouds of heaven as his chariot. Mat. xxvi. 61, to be glorified in 
his saints, and admired in all them that believe. And then he 
shall appear as a Lord ; some think it is therefore called the Lord's- 
day, 2 Pet. iii. 10. 

At his first appearing he appeared wholly as a Saviour and Re- 
deemer. When he appeared to the world, the philanthropy, or 
kindness of God to man appeared, Titus iii. 4 : ' And the grace of 
God that bringeth salvation appeared,' Titus ii. 11. But then he 
shall appear as a judge, full of fire, and fury, and wrath against 
his enemies. The kings, and captains, and nobles will call to the 
rocks to fall on them, and to the mountains to cover them from the 
wrath of the Lamb, when that great day of his wrath is come, Rev. 
vi. 16, 17. 

At first he appeared as a sinner, in the likeness of sinful flesh, 
Rom. viii. 3 ; he was numbered among the transgressors ; the Lord 
laid on him the iniquity of us all, Isa. liii. 12. He was called a 
Samaritan, and one that had a devil, John x. ; a wine-bibber and 
a glutton, a friend of publicans and sinners, John viii. 48 ; Mat. 
xi. 19 ; a traitor against Cassar, John xix. 12 ; one guilty of blas- 
phemy against God, Mat. xxvi. 65 ; a conjuror, and one in com- 
pact and covenant with the devil, Mat. xii. 24. But his second 
appearing will be without any such likeness of sinful flesh, or im- 
putation of sin by God, or reputation of a sinner among men : ' But 
unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time with- 
out sin unto salvation,' Heb. ix. 28. 

(2.) There will be at that day a manifestation of things. The 
books that are now sealed up will then be opened, Rev. xx. 12. 

VOL. V. s 

274 THE sinnek's last sentence. [Chap. II. 

The book of the divine decrees will then be unclasped, and the 
names written in the Lamb's book of life will then be visible and 
legible to all : ' And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before 
God, and the books were opened, and another book was opened, 
which is the book of life,' Kev. xx. 12. All the divine providences 
in time will be manifest ; then will the divine purpose from eternity, 
as now the divine purpose is manifest by the divine providence. 

The book of divine providences will then be opened, and all the 
rare curious contrivances thereof unfolded ; the agreement of provi- 
dence with the promises, as well as with the eternal purpose, will 
then be apparent. The history of the whole world will then be 
read by the saints in one entire volume. Now we see a little of 
God's wisdom, and power, and faithfulness, in one providence, and 
a little in another, and a little in a third ; yea, we are so blind, and 
providences often so dark, that, through our ignorance and unbelief, 
God loseth much of the glory due to him for them, and we much 
of the comfort we might receive by them ; but then we shall with 
strengthened and enlarged understandings discern the whole series, 
method, and contexture of divine providences together, and how by 
a powerful, wise, gracious government, all things conspired, and com- 
bined, and wrought together for our everlasting good, Eom. viii. 
28. It is one thing to see a rich piece of arras, with a curious 
story wrought in it, by parcels and pieces, and another thing to see 
it all together, hung up, and to be seen all at once with one view. 

The book of conscience will then be opened. Though now 
wicked men blot and blur this book by their wilful presumptuous 
sins, that they cannot read it ; though they darken their eyes, and 
stiffen their wills, and harden their hearts, and will not read it ; yet 
then they shall have the book of conscience representing to them in 
large, though black, yea, bloody characters, all their atheistical 
impieties, enormities, drunkenness, revellings, debaucheries, hypo- 
crisies, blasphemies, and they shall be forced to read them with 
sorrow and terror, whether they will or no. 


Tlie division and brief explication of, 

4. The pronunciation of the sentence, ver. 41-43, &c. 

In which we may take notice, 

1. Of the persons sentenced; these are described, 

Chap. II.] the sinner's last sentence. 275 

(1.) By their station, on the left hand : ' Then shall he say to 
them on the left hand.' 

(2.) By their condition, cursed ones : ' Depart, ye cursed. 

2. Of their punishment. In which there is, J 

(1.) Pain of loss : ' Depart from me.' 

(2.) Pain of sense, which punishment is aggravated, 

First, By its extremity, fire. This is amplified, 

1. By their companions in those flames, the devil and his 

2. By the divine ordination of it for them : ' Prepared for the devil 
and his angels.' 

Secondly, By its eternity, everlasting fire. 

3. Of the reason of this punishment : ' For I was hungry, and 
ye gave me no meat : I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink,' ver. 
42, 43. 

I shall begin with the sentence, wherein every word speaks woe 
and wrath, fire and fury, death and damnation ; and every syllable 
speaks the deepest sorrow and dreadfuUest sufferings. It is like 
Ezekiel's roll, written within and without ; and within is written 
lamentation, weeping, and woe, Ezek. ii. 10. The Lord Chief-Jus- 
tice of the world, the judge of the quick and dead, is now in all his 
Tobes and royalty, with millions of glorious attendants, in the glory 
of his Father, with all his holy angels, set on the bench. The poor 
prisoner, whose trembling soul is newly reunited to the loathsome 
carcase of his body, is dragged to the bar, awaiting and expecting 
some doleful doom. He is lately come from hell, to give an ac- 
count of his life on earth, and to receive his sentence ; and loath 
he is to go back to that place of torments, as knowing that the pain 
of his body will be a new and grievous addition to his misery, when 
that shall burn in flames as his soul doth already in fury. There- 
fore he pleads : 

Prisoner. Lord, let me stay here, (though, poor wretch, he hath 
his hell about him in his accusing, affrighting conscience,) rather 
than go to that dungeon of darkness. A sight of thy beautiful face 
may possibly abate my sorrows, and thy presence may mitigate my 

Judge. No, saith Christ, here is no abiding for thee ; be gone 
hence. Thou mayest remember when my presence was thy tor- 
ment, when thou didst bid me depart from thee, choosing my room 
before my company. Now my absence shall be thy terror ; I like 
thee not so well to have thee nigh me ; depart, I say, from me. 

Prisoner. Lord, if I must undergo so dreadful a doom as to 

276 THE sinnee's last sentence. [Chap. II. 

depart from thee, the Father of lights, and fountain of life, yet 
bless me before I go. One good wish of thy heart, one good word 
of thy mouth, will make me blessed wherever I go. Those whom 
thou blessest are blessed indeed. Bless me, even me, my Father ; 
at this parting grant me thy blessing. 

Judge. Sinner, be gone, and my curse go along with thee. Thou 
hast many a time despised my blessing when it hath been offered 
to thee, though I was made a curse to purchase it for thee ; there- 
fore, I say, depart from me, and the curse of an angry Lord and 
of a righteous law accompany thee for ever ; depart, I say, thou 

Prisoner. Lord, if I must go, and thy curse with me, send me 
to some good place, where I may find somewhat to refresh me 
under thy loss and curse. It is misery enough to lose thy pre- 
sence ; good Lord, command me to some good place. 

Judge. No, sinner, be gone with my curse to that place which 
will torture and rack thee with extremity and universality of pains. 
The time hath been that thou hast wallowed in sensual pleasures, 
now thou must fry in intolerable flames ; depart, thou cursed, 
into fire. 

Prisoner. Ah, Lord, if I must go with thy curse, and to so 
woeful a place as fire, I beseech thee let me not stay there long. 
Alas ! who can abide devouring flames one moment ? material fires 
of man's kindling are terrible, but how intolerable are those flames 
which thy breath, like a stream of brimstone, hath kindled ! I 
beseech thee, if I must go to it, let me pass swiftly through it, and 
not stay in it. 

Judge. No, sinner, depart and my curse with thee to those ex- 
treme torments that admit of no ease and no end, where the worm 
never dieth and the fire never goeth out ; to the lake that burneth 
with fire and brimstone for ever. Depart, thou cursed, into ever- 
lasting fire. 

Prisoner. Lord, this is dismal and dreadful indeed, to go from 
thee, who art all good, and to go to fire, which hath in it extremity 
of all evil, and to lose thee, and fry in flames for ever, ever, ever ; yet, 
Lord, if it is thy will it should be so, hear me yet in one desire, 
let me have such society as may mitigate, at least such as may not 
aggravate my misery. 

Judge. No, sinner, thy company must be such for ever as thou 
didst choose in thy lifetime. He who was thy tempter shall be 
thy tormentor; and they who led thee captive at their will, 
sjiall be bound with thee in chains of everlasting darkness, and 

Chap. II.] the sinner's last sentence. 277 

fagoted up with thee together for unquenchable fire. Such fiery- 
serpents, gnawing worms, stinging adders, poisonous toads, roaring 
and devouring lions, hideous monsters, frightful fiends must be 
thy eternal companions. ' Depart from me, thou cursed, into ever- 
lasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.' 

I shall now speak particularly to the punishment of these wicked 
ones, and explain the words as I come to speak to them. 

I begin with the beginning of Christ's sentence, viz., the pain of 
loss, which shall be the punishment of the damned : ' Depart from 
me.' The word depart is a metaphor which describes the course 
of human life by a journey,! Luke i. 6 ; 2 Peter ii. 10 ; and also 
their progress to death, Luke xiii. The eternal death of the damned 
will consist partly, if not principally, in their departure from the 
Lord of life. 

But it may be objected. Who can depart from him who is every- 
where ? Christ is Grod, John i. 1 ; 1 John v, 20 ; and God is 
omnipresent : ' Whither shall I fly from thy presence ?' Ps. cxxxix. 
7. Therefore we must know there is a threefold presence of God 
or Christ : 

1. There is the essential presence of God, as he is infinite in his 
being, included in no place, and excluded out of none, so none 
can depart from him, Ps. cxxxix. 6-10 ; Jer, xxiii. 24 ; Amos 
ix. 2, 3. 

2. There is the favourable presence of God, as he is the fountain 
of life and love, and the Father of mercy and kindness, and all 
good. The former is the presence of his being, this of his bounty. 
This is as the presence of the sun by his heat cheering, and by his 
light delighting the creature. His presence in this sense is the 
substance of his promises : ' Fear not, I will be with thee,' Isa. xliii. 
2, 3, 5 ; Jer. i. 8, and xv. 20 ; Luke i. 28 ; Acts xviii. 10. His 
presence in this sense is the Kedeemer's purchase : ' He suffered the 
just for the unjust, to bring us to God,' 1 Peter iii. 18. Thence 
the name of the Kedeemer is Immanuel, God with us. Mat. i. 23, 
Against his departure in this sense, Jer. xiv. 8, is the church's 
earnest prayer, Leave us not ; and the fear of it doth so affect 
Moses, that he is ready to throw up all, Exod. xxxiii 15 : 'If thy 
presence go not with us, carry us not hence.' 

His presence in this sense is heaven itself: Ps. xvi. 11, 'In thy 
presence is fulness of joy ; at thy right hand are pleasures forever- 
more ;' Luke xxii. ; 1 Thes. iv. 17, * Then we which are alive and 

^ HopeveaOe air ifxov, est metapliora qua vitse humanse cursus per iter sive profec- 
tionem describitur. 

278 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. III. 

remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to 
meet the Lord in the air ; and so shall Ave ever be with the Lord. 
This is that presence of Christ which the wicked shall want for 
ever. This is included in ' Depart from me.' 

3. There is the afflicting punishing presence of God. There is 
the presence of his fury, as well as of his favour. In this sense 
Job prayeth for God's absence : ' How long wilt thou not depart 
from me?' Job vii. 19. Which Junius glosseth, Turn thine 
anger away from me. In this sense God tells men that he will 
visit them, i.e., with judgments ; as a father, beholding his child 
about some naughty action, tells him, I will be with you pre- 
sently, meaning to correct him, Isa. xxiii. 17; Jer. vi. 15, 'At 
the time that I visit them, they shall be cast down, saith the 
Lord.' In this sense wicked men shall have the presence of God 
for ever. His tormenting presence, as well as the absence of his 
grace and favour, will be their eternal portion. And certainly, if 
his afflicting presence in this world, which hath love for its 
original, and their good for its end, be so grievous to his own 
people, that they cry out, Let him turn from me. Job xiv. 6; let 
him depart away ; what will his tormenting presence be to the 
wicked in the other world, of which wrath, pure wrath, is the 
original, and satisfaction to justice his end? 


Concernifig the privative part of the sinners punishment. 

This part of the verse will afford this doctrine : 

Doct. That a great part of wicked men's punishment in the 
other world will consist in their departure from the presence of 
Christ. ' Then shall he say to them on his left hand. Depart from 
me.' They now bid God depart from them ; they say unto God, 
' Depart from us,' Job xxi. 14. But that which is their wish here 
shall be their woe for ever. And he shall say unto them, ' De- 
part from me, ye workers of iniquity ; I know you not,' Mat. vii. 23. 
The presence of Christ is now their trouble, but his absence will 
then be their torment. Hence the state of the wicked in the other 
world is called utter darkness,! ]\|at. viii. 12 ; and blackness of 
darkness for ever, Jude 13 ; because of its separation from 
Christ, who is the light of the world and the Sun of righteousness, 

1 Calvin in Mat. viii. 12. 

Chap. III.] the sinner's last sentence. 279 

John i. 9 ; Mai. iv. 2. It seems an allusion to them that are 
fettered in dark doleful dungeons, or to those that in the night- 
time stand without in the dark, being excluded such rooms as are 
full of lights, wherein are rare and costly feasts. 

In the explication of this doctrine, I shall describe the punish- 
ment of the wicked : 1. In the perfection of the object from 
which they must depart ; 2. In the properties of their departure ; 
and then give the reasons of the doctrine. 

First, As for the object of their loss. 

1. They lose the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of life, the Lord 
of glory, the fairest of ten thousand, the only begotten of the 
Father, and the heir of all things. The better the object is, the 
greater their loss who are deprived of it. The more excellent the 
person of Christ is, the more exquisite their punishment will be 
who must depart from him. Christ is the highest, the greatest, 
the chiefest good. In losing him, 

(1.) They depart from an universal good, one that is bread, water, 
light, life, rest, health, ease, wine, marrow, a feast, a friend, a 
father, pardon, peace, love, grace, glory, anything, everytliing, 
all things that the soul wanteth and requireth to its perfect 

(2.) They depart from a suitable good, that very savoury meat 
which the soul loveth and needeth. They lose that good which 
the soul should have, and would have, and must have, if ever it 
be happy. The soul is guilty, and Christ is pardon ; pardon is 
suitable to a guilty soul : 1 John i. 7, ' The blood of Jesus Christ 
his Son cleanseth us from all sin.' The soul is poor, and Christ 
is riches ; riches are suitable to a poor creature : Eph. iii. 8, 
' The unsearchable riches of Christ;' Prov. viii. 18, ' Eiches and 
honour are with me, yea, durable riches and righteousness.' The 
soul is miserable, naked, filthy, obnoxious to death and wrath, 
but Christ is mercy, raiment, cleansing, freedom from hell, and 
the heaven of heaven, Eev. iii. 17, 18 ; 1 Thes. i. 10 ; Rom. 
viii. 1. He is a good that doth exactly, directly suit the con- 
dition of the soul, the miseries of the soul, and the necessities 
of the soul. He is the plaster that fits the sores, and the balm 
that hits the wounds of the soul, when creatures are physicians and 
physic of no value. 

(3.) They depart from an eternal good ; they lose that good which 
doth not only suit the soul's disposition, but also its duration, that will 
last, and abide, and continue for ever : ' Jesus Christ is the same yes- 
terday, to-day, and for ever,' Heb. xiii. 8. He is everlasting right- 

280 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. III. 

eousness, Dan. ix. 24 ; everlasting meat, John vi. 27 ; eternal life, 
1 John V. 20. 

2. They depart from, with Christ, the society of all Christians. 
When they depart from the head, they depart from the members ; 
when they depart from the root, they depart from the branches. 
For head and members, root and branches, must be together for 
ever: John xiv. 2, 3, ' Where I am, there ye may be also.' Now 
the sheep and goats flock together, but then they shall be parted 
asunder: Mat. viii. 11, 12, ' And I say unto you, That many shall 
come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down with 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the 
children of the kingdom shall be cast out into utter darkness: 
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' They who are now 
the objects of their contempt, will then be the objects of their 
envy. When once they lose the sight, they shall lose the sight of 
those glorious stars for ever. Every saint may then say to the 
sinner, who now frets and fumes at the saint's presence, because of 
his preciseness, as Moses to Pharoah, ' I will see thy face no more,' 
Mat. XXV. 46. 

3. They shall depart, when from Christ, from all the means of 
grace, or communion with God. They shall hear no more ser- 
mons, and join in no more prayers, and receive no more tenders of 
grace, or entreaties of the gospel : Isa. xxxviii. 11, ' I said, I shall 
not see the Lord, even the Lord, in the land of the living : I shall be- 
hold man no more with the inhabitants of the world.' Where the king 
is, there he hath his secretaries, and seals, and ministers of state, 
and they who are banished the court are banished from these. 

4. They shall depart from all the good things of this life. Each 
country hath its proper peculiar commodities, and so hath each 
world. This world hath its peculiar good things, such as are 
proper to this, and not to be found in the other world ; therefore 
the apostle calls them this world's goods : ' He that hath this world's 
goods,' 1 John iii. 17. So the other world hath its proper pecu- 
liar commoditiss, such as are to be found nowhere else. The 
blessings of this are not to be looked for in the other life : ' There 
is neither marrying nor given in marriage, but all are as angels ; ' 
good men, as good angels, above all bodily and temporal blessings ; 
and evil men, as evil angels, without them, and fixed in a state of 
endless misery. The wicked man possibly was honourable, but his 
glory doth not follow after him, Ps. xlix. 17. He was rich, but 
that was only in this world, 1 Tim. vi. 17. He was one that 
abounded in pleasures, but now they are gone, and exchanged for 

Chap. IV.J the sinner's last sentence. 281 

pains, James v. 5 ; Luke xvi. 25, ' But Abraham said, Son, re- 
member that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and 
likewise Lazarus evil things : but now he is comforted, and thou 
art tormented.' The sinner shall bid adieu to temporal good, 
spiritual good, eternal good, all good, that he may speak inde- 
finitely, what Job, supposing himself dying, spake restrictively, 
' Mine eyes shall no more see good/ Job vii. 7. 


The properties of the sinners loss. 

Secondly, I shall speak to the properties of this departure from 
Christ, or loss therein. 

1. It is spiritual. It is a loss peculiar to the soul or spirit of 
man, and a loss of that good that is most suitable to the soul or 
spirit of man. No mercies are like soul- mercies, Eph. i. 3, and 
Job iv. 4 ; no miseries are like soul-miseries. For, the nobler any 
being is, the better that is which advantageth it, and the worse that 
is that injureth it. It is one thing to relieve or abuse a distressed 
prince, and another thing to relieve or abuse a distressed subject. 
The soul of man is the prince, the chief and noblest part of man, 
and it is principally the subject, as chiefly sensible of this depar- 
ture. It is true the soul cannot depart from God locally, but it 
can and doth morally here in its affections and conversation. But 
that which is now its practice and pleasure, will then be their tor- 
ment and punishment. Other losses pinch the flesh, but this 
pierceth the spirit. Other losses are castigatory, and the portion of 
children ; but this is damnatory, and the portion of devils. Ah, 
how will the soul pine and wither away, when it shall take its 
farewell of that Sun, who alone could revive and refresh it ! What 
a dismal, doleful death must it undergo, when it shall depart from 
him who is its only life ! Such a wounded spirit who can bear ? 
The soul hath more exquisite sense, and more curious feeling, than 
the body ; therefore its loss of its own peculiar suitable satisfying 
good will cut deep, and flU it with bitter horror. 

2. It will be a total departure. Here they depart in part from 
God, but then totally. Here Cain complains, if not allowed God's 
presence in ordinances, though he had his presence in many ways 
of ordinary favour : ' Behold, thou hast driven me this day from 
the face of the earth, and from thy face shall I be hid,' Gen. iv. 14. 

282 THE sinnek's last sentence. [Chap. IV. 

But, alas ! how doth he complain there, where he is wholly de- 
prived of the divine presence in any way of favour ; where he hath 
not the least glimpse of the light of his countenance. The partial 
departures of God have forced sad complaints from them that are 
godly : Job xiii. 24, ' Why hidest thou thy face, and holdest me 
for thine enemy ? ' saith Job. I can bear the withdrawings of 
men, and their absence ; I can bear the strangeness of my friends, 
and the unkindness of relations, but I cannot bear thy strangeness 
to me, thy withdrawings from me. ' Why hidest thou thy face ? ' 
Job, though a strong stout man, able to overcome the strong one, 
the devil, yet was ready to faint away and die at this. David 
crieth out mournfully at it : Ps. x. 1, ' Why standest thou afar off, 

Lord ? why hidest thou thyself in time of trouble ?' Poor Heman 
is distracted, and almost dead with it : Ps. Ixxxviii. 14, 15, ' Lord, 
why hidest thou thy face ? I am afflicted and ready to die ; while 

1 suffer thy terrors, I am distracted.' If these partial departures, 
which had much love in them and with them, cast down the friends 
of God so heavily, oh what will his total departures out of pure wrath 
cause to his enemies ? That world must needs be dolesome and dark- 
some indeed, to whom this Sun is wholly set, and totally eclipsed. 

3. It will be an eternal departure. They must leave God for 
ever. Though it had been spiritual and total, yet if but temporal, 
there had been somewhat to have allayed their sorrows ; but to 
suffer so great a loss, and that wholly and for ever too, must needs 
pierce to the quick. The sinner shall see the blessed Jesus no more 
for ever. He must depart from the tenderest father, lovingest 
friendship, richest treasure, choicest good, greatest glory, sweetest 
pleasure, and that for ever: Jude 13, 'To whom is reserved 
blackness of darkness for ever.' The sentence once denounced, 
' Depart from me,' will be like the law of the Medes and Persians, 
which cannot be altered : 2 Thes. i. 8, 9, ' Who shall be punished 
with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.' The 
anchor of hope will then be broken, the bridge of grace will then 
be drawn, the gate of mercy will then be shut, and the gulf be- 
tween Christ and the wicked never to be passed over. They may 
cry out in truth, what the psalmist in unbelief, ' Will the Lord 
cast off for ever ? will he be favourable no more ? Is his mercy 
clean gone for ever ? ' Ps. Ixxvii. 7, 8. Alas ! they are cast off 
for ever ; he will be favourable to them no more. They may roar 
out in vain. How long wilt thou forget me, Lord ? shall I never 
be remembered ? Ps. xiii. 1. 

4. It is an irreparable loss, such a loss as nothing can make up. 

Chap. V.] the sinner's last sentence. 283 

There are many good things which we may do well without, be- 
cause the want of them may be supplied by other things ; but 
Christ is the one thing necessary, the one thing excellent, the 
want of whom no good thing in heaven or earth can make up. 
When the soul departs from Christ it departs from all good, be- 
cause nothing is good without him, and nothing can be had in the 
room of him. If some kind of food be wanting, another kind may 
possibly do as well ; so if some sort of drugs or herbs for physic be 
wanting, there may be others found of the same virtue and opera- 
tion ; but if once the soul be sentenced to depart from Christ, there 
is nothing to compensate this loss. He is the Saviour, and indeed 
the only Saviour, Acts iv. 12 ; he is the mediator between a right- 
eous God and a guilty creature, and indeed the only mediator: 
1 Tim. ii. 5, ' For there is one God, and one mediator between 
God and men, the man Christ Jesus.' 


The reasons of the sinner s privative punishment. 

Thirdly, I proceed to the reasons of this doctrine, and shall name 
but two. 

1. Wicked men in the other world shall be sentenced to depart 
from Christ, because of their wickedness or unworthiness of his 
presence. The judge himself gives this reason in the text : ver. 
42, 43, ' For I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat,' &c. Sin is 
the great wall of partition between God and his creatures : ' Evil 
cannot stand in thy sight, neither canst thou behold the works of 
iniquity,' Ps. v. 5. They must lose the light of his countenance, 
who never minded the light of his commandments ; the holy Jesus 
cannot abide the company of unholy creatures : ' Shall the throne 
of iniquity have fellowship with thee ? ' No, it may not, it cannot, 
Ps. xciv. 20. It is contrary to his honour, who hath threatened 
their banishment from him ; and it is contrary to his nature, who 
hates their company. 

If God depart from his own people in this world in part, and for 
a time, it is for their sins. ' Your iniquities separate between me 
and your souls,' Isa. lix. 2 ; thus they are the cloud that interpose 
between the soul and the Sun of righteousness, and hinder the light 
of his favour from shining on us, Isa. xliv. 22. Job knew and ac- 
knowledged this : chap. xiii. 24-26, ' Why hidest thou thy face ? 

284 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. V. 

Thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess 
the sins of my youth.' And if wicked men depart totally and eter- 
nally from God in the other world, it is for their sins : ' Depart 
from me, ye workers of iniquity, I know you not,' Mat. vii. 23 ; 
Luke xiii. 27. Departure from Christ is the wages which the 
workers of iniquity earn. Deeds of darkness merit utter darkness. 

Wicked men now desire Christ to depart from them : ' They 
besought him to depart out of their coasts,' Mat. viii. 34 ; but 
what is now their pleasure, shall then be their punishment. He 
will go from them, who bid him be gone ; and hide his face for 
ever from those who turn their backs upon him in time. He that 
prepares for sinners the torments of hell, will not bestow on them 
the joys of heaven. 

2. Because of their unfitness for the presence of Christ. A car- 
nal heart cannot savour a spiritual heaven. The vitiated nature of 
man cares not for the pleasures joined wdth the holiness of the ce- 
lestial paradise : ' When angels kept not their first estate, they left 
their own habitation, Jude 6. As soon as they lost their primi- 
tive purity, they lost the place of their glory and felicity. When 
once they turned haters of Grod and holiness, of their own accord 
they forsook heaven. Distempered palates cannot relish the choic- 
est dainties. How can the wicked delight in God, which is the 
heaven of heaven, who have in them a predominant enmity against 
him : Heb. xii. 14, ' Follow after holiness, without which no man 
shall see the Lord.' It is holiness that makes the soul fit and meet 
for heaven : Col. i. 12, ' Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath 
made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in 
light.' The blind are as capable of seeing, and the deaf of hearing, 
and the dead of eating and drinking, as wicked men are of seeing 
God as he is, and hearing the melodious songs of saints and angels, 
and of feeding of the tree of life that groweth in the midst of para- 
dise, and of drinking of the pure water that floweth from the throne 
of God and the Lamb. If the tabernacle on earth, wherein are the 
saints of God, and holy institutions of Christ, and the divine wor- 
ship, for four or five hours in a week, be a prison to earthly, carnal 
men, surely the temple in heaven, wherein is the Holy One of 
Israel in the greatest manifestation of his holiness, holy angels, 
perfect spirits, pure service of the blessed God, without interrup- 
tion or cessation, would be a purgatory, yea, a hell to them. Com- 
munion with God is impossible (in natura rei) without conformity 
to him, 2 Cor. vi. 14. They tell a broad lie who say, they have 
fellowship with God here, and walk after their own lusts, 1 John 

Chap. VI] the sinner's last sentence. 285 

i. 6. ' He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk 
even as he walked/ Our delight in God is ever proportionable to our 
desires of him. Now wicked men desiring above all tilings the 
absence, yea, the dethroning of God, can never take any delight in 
his presence, though they should be admitted thereunto. 

If suitableness be wanting, that which is never so excellent is no 
way joyous or pleasant to us. All creatures delight only in what 
is suitable to their natures. Barzillai refused the pleasures of 
David's court, because they were so unsuitable to an old man that 
they would be no pleasures to him ; he could not taste their meat, 
nor hear their music. So all the delights of the celestial court 
would be no delights, because of their unsuitableness to sinful sen- 
sual natures. Ungodly men could not relish the spiritual dainties 
at the marriage-supper of the Lamb, nor hear with pleasure the 
heavenly choir singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. I 
grant that wicked men are naturally capable of heaven, as they are 
rational creatures, but they are morally incapable, as they are pre- 
dominantly carnal and sinful ; so they want that holiness which 
should prepare, and dispose, and fit them for heaven. 


Uses concerning the heinous nature ofsm, and grievous 
misery of sinners. 

Use. I shall now apply this doctrine. It may be useful by way 
of information, and by way of exhortation. 1. By way of informa- 

1. It may inform us, if the wicked in the other world shall be 
banished the presence of Christ, then how heinous is the nature of 
sin, and how odious to God ! God is love itself, and delights in 
mercy, yea, takes pleasure in the prosperity of men : John i. 4, ' In 
him was life, and the life was the light of men ; ' Micah vii. 18, 
' Who is a God like unto thee, who pardoneth iniquity, and passeth 
by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage ? he retaineth 
not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.' Therefore 
it must be some grievous crime, and somewhat which is very offen- 
sive to him, that provokes him to sentence them to an eternal ban- 
ishment from him. Oh how horrid a thing is sin ! it brings aU 
evil, Rom. ii. 7, 8, and deprives of all good, Isa. lix. 2. Its for- 
mal nature is a voluntary departure from God's precepts, Heb. iii. 

286 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. VI. 

12 ; Jer, ii. 5 ; and its woeful effect is an eternal total departure 
from his gracious presence. His partial temporary departure from 
his own people, who are the objects of his eternal choice and infi- 
nite love, ' which makes them go mourning all the day, and lie 
roaring all the night, because of their sins,' speaks much of the 
evil of sin ; but his full everlasting departure from others, which 
leaves them naked, and stripped of all comfort, and exposed to all 
misery and mischief, doth more abundantly proclaim its filthiness 
and loathsomeness. It can be no ordinary cloud or vapour that 
can obscure the sun at noonday, in all his beauty and brightness, 
and turn the clear day into a black night ; and it can be no little 
or small thing which provokes the Father of mercy, and God of 
all grace, to deal so severely with the works of his own hands. 

2. It informs us of the inconceivable misery of sinners ; they 
must depart from Christ for ever. To depart for ever from loving 
and lovely relations, is no mean misery to them who have no other 
kindred than those on earth. It was no small trial of Abraham to 
leave his kindred and father's house, Gen. xii. 1. To depart for 
ever from dear and intimate friends is a sore trouble to him whose 
heart is knit to them. The faikire and distance of friends was 
grievous to Job, chap. xix. 13, 14 ; and David, Ps. xxxviii. 11. To 
depart for ever from all the saints, the children of the Most High, 
the excellent of the earth, from the members of Christ, of whom 
the world is not worthy, will cut deep in them who have any eyes 
to see the amiableness of their persons, and any hearts to under- 
stand the benefit of their prayers and patterns ; but to depart for 
ever from Christ, the Prince of life, the Lord of glory, the heir of 
all things, the richest treasure, and highest honour, and sweetest 
pleasure, is doleful and dreadful indeed. How may the damned 
cry out, Ah whither do we go now ! we are going from thee ; thou 
hast the words of eternal life. 

The presence of Christ is the happiness of the soul on earth : 
Deut. iv. 7. ' I will see you, and your hearts shall rejoice.' John 
xvi. 22, ' And ye now therefore have sorrow ; but I will see you 
again, and your hearts shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh 
from you.' No such hearty comfort as in the gracious presence of 
Christ ; and the presence of Christ is the happiness of the soul in 
heaven. ' I desire to be dissolved/ though death simply considered 
be not desirable, 'and to be with Christ.' Finis conciliat mediis 
amorem. His presence is the heaven of heavens. It is the excel- 
lency of the New Jerusalem, that there the tabernacle of God is 
with men, and God himself shall be with them, Eev. xxi. 3. And 

Chap. VI.] the sinner's last sentence. 287 

the felicity of tlie citizens there, ' They shall see his face/ Eev. xxii- 
4. In the presence of ■ Christ is all good, and in the absence of 
Christ is all evil. If it were death to Absalom not to see the 
king's face, what death will it be to the damned to be denied for 
ever the blissful sight of the face of Christ ! 

If God depart from his people in some degrees, for he is their 
God still, Ps. xxii. 1, and Ixxxviii. 1, and but for a time, as a lov- 
ing father, to make his children more sensible of their folly, and of 
the worth of his favour, how sadly have they cried out, ' My God, 
my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? ' How horribly will they 
screech and roar from whom he departs wholly and eternally, as a 
supreme and righteous judge. 

It will greatly aggravate their misery to consider these particu- 
lars : 

1. The greatness of their loss. It is not the loss of a house, or 
estate, or bodily good, but the loss of a soul, the loss of a Saviour, 
the loss of a God, yea, the loss of all good, and that for ever. It 
is such a loss as never had its fellow or equal ; it is such a loss as 
cannot admit of any addition to it. It is a loss that never had the 
like before it, nor shall have the like after it. It is an incompar- 
able loss, that the damned may say as he, ' Ye have taken away my 
God, and what have I more ? ' 

2. For how small a thing they lose the blessed Jesus. If they 
had lost Christ for somewhat which might have countervailed the 
want of him, or had in any degree equalled him, it had been the 
better ; but to lose a God, a Christ, a soul, fulness of joy, for a little 
airy honour, or brutish pleasure, this will cut to the heart. Oh how 
will it wound the soul in the other world to think, for how small a 
toy, for how pitiful a trifle, have I lost a crown of glory, and rivers 
of pleasures for ever ! Ah, what a fool have I been to lose substance 
for shadows, bread for husks, a fountain of living waters for broken 
cisterns, their own mercies for lying vanities, crystal streams for 
puddle water, the choice dainties of God's house for the devil's 
scraps, heaven for earth, and all things for nothing ! Was any in 
bedlam ever half so distracted ! 

3. It will much aggravate their misery to consider that it was 
their own voluntary act to lose so much for so little. They shall 
then think with themselves, that this woeful condition in which 
they are was their own choice. All the power and policy of earth 
and hell could not force them to destroy themselves. The cords 
that bind them were of their own twisting ; the rods that scourge 
them were gathered with their' own hands ; the web in which they 

288 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. VI. 

are caiiglit and killed was spun out of their own bowels. God may- 
say to them, as once to Israel, ' Ye have destroyed yourselves,' Hosea 
xiii. ; ye are your own murderers. I put your salvation so far into 
your own hands, that ye could not be damned against your wills. 
Your own iniquities correct you, and ye are holden with cords of 
your own sins, Frov. v. 22 ; Jer. iv. 18. Thy way and thy doings 
have procured these things unto thee ; this is thy wickedness, 
because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart. Jer. 
ii. 19, ' Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy back- 
sliding shall reprove thee : know therefore and see that it is 
an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy 

4. It will exceedingly increase their anguish, to know perfectly 
the greatness of their loss. Here they know not the worth of a 
Christ, and thence they are little troubled at the want of Christ ; 
but then their eyes shall be opened to see the beauty, excellency 
and amiableness of him whom they have lost, and to see the costly 
delicacies, choice dainties, pure and perfect pleasures which the 
godly enjoy in him, and with him ; and so by the increase of their 
knowledge will be an increase of their sorrow. They shall see 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven ; they shall 
see their neighbours, whom they scorned and mocked for their 
purity and preciseness, in the presence of Christ, in the arms and 
embraces of Christ, in a state of full happiness and perfect satisfac- 
tion, while they themselves are shut out, and denied entrance, 
Luke xiii. 25, 28. The fire of hell will give them light enough 
to see, as well as heat enough to feel, themselves infinitely miser- 

5. It will greatly add to their torment and anguish to consider, 
that they were sometime near the enjoyment of this blissful pre- 
sence of Christ. Pardon, and peace, and love, and life, and the 
endless fruition of the blessed Jesus were tendered to them, were 
nigh them, were at the very door of their hearts. They were 
solemnly commanded, lovingly invited, severely threatened, sweetly 
allured, and pathetically persuaded to accept of Christ and grace ; 
yea, and heaven, and happiness, and eternal life ; yea, and their 
hearts began to relent, and to close with the entreaties of the 
gospel. They were almost persuaded to be Christians indeed ; there 
was but a little, a very little, between them and Christ. The bar- 
gain was driven so far that Christ was got into their consciences, 
they bore witness for him, and warned them, if they loved their 
lives, their souls, to accept of him while he would accept of them ; 

Chap. VI. ] the sinner's last sentence. 289 

yea, Christ was got into their judgments, they gave their verdict on 
his side, as one infinitely more amiable and eligible than the world 
or flesh ; nay, he had possibly got into their affections, they 
delighted to hear of his great love to poor sinners, and of the great 
things he purchased for them with his own blood ; and yet though 
they were so near, they came short, and, like Ephraim, played the 
part of unwise sons, and stayed in the place of the breaking forth 
of children. 

Oh how like a dagger will it pierce the heart of them that live 
under the gospel, and neglect the great salvation offered to them, 
when they come to be banished the presence of Christ, and to see 
others, who made religion their business on earth, bathing their 
souls in rivers of pleasures, drawing water with joy out of the well of 
salvation, eating of the tree of life that groweth in the midst of para- 
dise, and housed in the arms of their dearest Saviour, and shall reflect 
and consider with themselves, all those joys and pleasures, all those 
dainties and delicacies, all those robes, and riches, and glories, and 
felicities, which they enjoy in the presence of Christ, might have been 
mine ; they were freely, and frequently, and affectionately offered to 
me ; I had the refusal of them ; nay, I had a good mind to them, I 
was not far from the kingdom of heaven. There was but a little 
between me and them, they were at the very door of my heart, and 
stood knocking there for admission, and desired only hearty accept- 
ance ; but like a fool I dallied with them, and deferred them, as if 
hereafter had been time enough ; and so have lost them for ever. 

(6.) It will much augment their anguish and misery to consider 
who it is that passeth so severe a doom upon them. This dreadful 
sentence is pronounced by love, and grace, and goodness itself He 
that sometimes called them to him so sweetly, so affectionately, 
now casts them from him so sharply, so furiously • he who some- 
times cried to them, ' Come to me all ye that labour, and are heavy 
laden,' and wept over them, ' Oh that thou hadst known, even thou 
in this thy day, the things of thy peace ;' he that formerly invited, 
entreated, besought them to be reconciled, 2 Cor. v. 20, and shewed 
them his heart-blood, the price of their pardon and life, and stretched 
out his arms to embrace their returning souls, will now in wrath, 
and rage, and flames, and fury, bid them begone from him, and his 
curse go along with them. And if love prove their enemy, surely 
wrath will not be their friend ; and if mercy be thus against them, 
surely justice will not be for them. Ah, how sorely will it gall the 
sinner to consider : this dreadful doom is denounced against me not 
by an enemy, or one that hated me, but by a friend and father, by 

VOL. V. T 

290 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. YII. 

one that loved me, and took my nature on him, and suffered therein 
the law's curse, to render me capable of escaping these torments 
which I now suffer, and partaking of those pleasures which yonder 
blessed souls enjoy. 


Containing the folly of sinners, and the vast difference between them 
and the godly at the great day. 

3. It informeth us that every wicked man is out of his wits. 
Surely the man is mad who exchangeth his soul, and Saviour, and 
God, and all for a little worldly profit or fleshly pleasure ; yea, 
that parts with true and durable riches for shadowy and fading 
treasure, that loseth heavenly and eternal joys for earthly and 
transitory pleasures. 

No man can love sin, but he hates himself; nor part with his 
duty, but he parts with his felicity. And surely such a man who 
hates himself, and forsakes his happiness, is a madman. Well 
might the Holy Ghost speak the prodigal out of his wits when he 
was out of his way, and wandering from his father's house. How 
mad was he to forsake bread for husks ! All the world is but husks, 
dry, coarse, empty fare, to the dainties of the gospel. Bread in a 
father's house for husks among swine ; yea, and plenty of bread, 
enough and to spare, for a few husks that could not fill their bellies. 

If one soul be more worth than a whole world, surely one Saviour, 
one God, is more worth than a thousand souls, than a million of 
worlds. How mad then is he that parts with this soul, this Sav- 
iour, this God, for a little, a very little, of this world ; yea, for this 
little of the world for a very little time. 

If all the delights of the flesh, and all the pleasures of sin, and 
all the profits of the world, cannot balance the partial enjoyment 
of God in his ordinances for one hour, how unable will they be to 
compensate the loss of full communion with God for ever ? Oh 
how infinitely doth Christ outweigh whatever the flesh or world 
can offer in exchange for him ! 

4. It informeth how contrary the portion of the godly and the 
wicked is at the day of judgment. At this day they fare often 
alike, they fall under the same favourable and frowning providences, 
they have the same comforts and the same crosses. If any differ- 
ence for the better, it is usually on the sinner's side. The vilest 

Chap. VII.] the sinner's last sentence. 291 

men are exalted, and the proud prosper. But at that day there 
will be a difference indeed for the better on the saint's side. That 
day will be terrible to the wicked — a day of wrath, a day of the 
perdition of ungodly men, Rom. ii. 4 ; 2 Pet. iii. 7. To the godly 
a day of redemption, a time of refreshing, a day of light and glad- 
ness, and a good day, Luke xxi. 28 ; Acts iii. 19, ' Eepent ye 
therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when 
the time of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Lord. 
The difference between the godly and the wicked at that day 
will be vast : — 

1. In regard of their station: ' Then shall he separate them one 
from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats : 
and he shall set the sheep at his right hand,' (in token of honour 
and favour,) ' and the'goats on his left,' (as a sign of shame and 
contempt,) Mat. xxv. 32, 33. Those who are now uppermost, 
will then be undermost. The filth of the world will then appear 
to be God's jewels, and the darlings of the world will then appear 
to be the children of the devil : ' The righteous shall have dominion 
oyer them in the morning,' Ps. xlix. In the night of this world 
the wicked sit in high places, and have dominion over the godly ; 
but in the morning of the world the godly shall sit at the right 
hand of Christ, and have dominion over the wicked. 

2. In regard of the sentence. And indeed herein is the principal 
difference. God and the devil, light and darkness, heaven and 
hell, are not more contrary than the doom of the godly and wicked 
at the great day. 

(1.) His voice to the wicked is, ' Depart from me ;' and those 
words will wound to purpose. Ah, whither do they go that go from 
Christ ! His voice to the godly, ' Come, come.' No honey to the 
taste, no music to the ears, no cordial to the heart, was ever so sweet 
as this word of Christ. His voice in the gospel, when he called out, 
' Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest,' was sweet and refreshing to them ; but that was but as 
water to this wine : come, oh come, and welcome, into my arms and 
embraces. When they who had longed for his coming, and looked 
for his coming, Titus ii. 13, and loved dearly his coming, 2 Tim. 
iv. 8, and sighed and sobbed so often for his coming — ' Why are 
his chariots so long a-coming ? why tarry the wheels of his chariot ? 
Make haste my beloved, and be thou like the hart and roe upon 
the mountain of spices' — and prayed so earnestly for his coming : 
' The spirit and the bride say, Come,' Rev. xxii. 17. ' Come, Lord 
Jesus, come quickly,' ver. 20 ; for these to see him coming in 

292 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. VII. 

the clouds, witli all his train of angels, and to hear him calling to 
them. Come to me, oh who can imagine the joy that will fill their 
hearts ! If when they saw him coming with the prospective of 
faith, they rejoiced with joy unspeakable, how will they rejoice 
when they shall see him coming with the eye of sense, and hear 
him call to them to come to him. 

(2.) His voice to the wicked will he, ' Depart from me, ye cursed.' 
Begone as a cursed brood, and my curse shall follow you wherever 
you go. His voice to the godly will be, ' Come, ye blessed of my 
Father.' Oh come, dear souls, whom my Father blessed in his eter- 
nal choice, to bless whom he sent me into the world, as a token of 
whose blessing he hath provided an everlasting inheritance for you. 
Come, ye blessed in your souls, blessed in your bodies, blessed in 
your names, blessed in your conditions, and thrice blessed in your 
eternal possessions. 

(3.) His voice to the wicked will be, ' Depart from me, ye cursed, 
into everlasting fire.' Begone from me to extremity of torments, 
fire ; and eternity of torments, everlasting fire. His voice to the 
godly will be, ' Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the king- 
dom,' Ye have been heirs a long while under age, and kings in 
the lower world in disguise, the time is now come for you to enjoy 
your inheritance. Oh come, ye blessed ones, and inherit the king- 
dom as kings thereof. Enjoy your full glory, 2 Cor. vii. 17 ; per- 
fect pleasure, Ps. xviii, 50 ; and vast dominion, 1 Cor. vi, 3 : and 
Kev, ii. 26, 27, ' And he that overcometh, and keepeth my words 
unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations, and he 
shall rule them with a rod of iron,' &c. Ay, and enjoy this kingdom 
for ever, 'inherit the kingdom' ; inheritances are for ever : ' The 
Lord knoweth the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall 
be for ever,' Ps. xxxvii. 18. 

(4.) His voice to the wicked will be, ' Depart, ye cursed, into ever- 
lasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.' Begone to that 
place of torment which infinite wisdom and wrath contrived, and 
infinite power and justice provideth for the devil and his cursed crew. 
Depart from me, and be their partners and companions in torments 
for ever. His voice to the godly will be, ' Come, ye blessed of my 
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of 
the world,' Come, take possession of a crown, to which your heads 
were destined before ye were born. Oh come and partake of those 
pleasures and joys, of that glory and dignity, to which infinite love 
elected you, and which infinite wisdom, and goodness, and grace 
hath prepared for you. 

Chap. VIII.] the sinner's last sentence. 293 

Oh how vast will the difference be at that day between the ser- 
vants of God and the servants of sin ; when those shall weep, and 
howl, and wail, and gnash their teeth for envy and vexation, and 
shall call to the rocks to fall upon them, and the mountains to 
cover them from the wrath of the Lamb, the servants of God shall 
sing and rejoice, and lift up their heads with joy, because the day 
of their redemption is come, Kev. vi. 16 ; Luke xxi. 28, ' And 
when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up 
your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.' 


A use of trials loith the marks of those that shall he banished 
Christ's prese7ice. 

Secondly, This doctrine may be useful by way of exhortation, 
and that two ways : 

1. To try whether thou, reader, art one of them that are like to 
be banished the presence of Christ. It is a woeful doom, as thou 
hast heard at large ; therefore examine thyself whether it shall be 
thy part and portion or no. To help thee herein, that thou mayest 
not deceive and delude thy own soul, I shall give thee, out of the 
word of truth, the characters of them to whom Christ will say, 
* Depart from me.' 

(1.) The evil liver and profane person^shall be banished Christ's 
presence. The black sinner shall not stand before the white throne : 
' Then shall he say unto them. Depart from me, ye workers of 
iniquity ; I know you not,' Mat. vii. 23 ; Luke xiii. 27. Those who 
lived in the breach of his commands, must not live in the enjoyment 
of his company. The workers of iniquity must associate with the 
wicked one, not with the holy one. Heaven can by no means admit 
the unholy: ' Into it can in no wise enter any thing that defileth, 
neither whatsoever worketh abomination,' Eev. xxi. 27. Scandal- 
ous sinners proclaim to the world, that the devil, not Christ, is their 
master ; and that hell, where the devil is with his angels, not heaven, 
where Christ is with his angels, shall be their eternal home. They 
who never liked or loved his presence on the earth, but banished him 
their hearts and houses, must think and expect that he will not 
like or love their presence, but sentence them to an everlasting 
banishment from him. 

(2.) The grossly ignorant creature^shall be banished the presence 

294 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. IX. 

of Christ. He will not know them who do not know him. Wilful 
ignorance doth certainly exclude the undefiled inheritance. A blind 
eye cannot see the blessed Jesus in all his glory, neither can a dark 
heart enjoy the kingdom of light. ' The Lord Jesas shall be re- 
vealed from heaven with his mighty angels ; to render vengeance 
on them that know not God, who shall be punished with everlasting 
destruction from the presence of the Lord/ 2 Thes. i. 7, 8. The 
portion of such will be everlasting destruction from his presence. 
They are destroyed for lack of knowledge ; because they reject 
knowledge, Christ will reject them, Hosea iv. 6. They are lost 
souls, whose eyes the God of this world hath blinded, 2 Cor. iv. 4. 
Inner darkness is the direct way to utter darkness. 

(3.) The hypocritical professor shall be excluded the presence of 
Christ. He that hath but the shadow of holiness, must expect a 
real hell. If thou bearest the name of Christ, and art not paj'taker 
of the divine nature, thy profession, as Uriah's letter to Joab, will 
but hasten thy execution : Job xiii. 16, ' He {i.e., God) also shall 
be my salvation ; but an hypocrite shall not come before him.' God 
will be the godly upright soul's salvation, but not the hypocrite's. 
He shall not dwell with God, Ps. v. 4 ; no, not stand in his 
sight, Ps. V. 5 ; nay, not so much as come before him with any 
comfort. He may come before good men with acceptance, as the 
foolish virgins before the wise, who were ignorant of their hypoc- 
risy, but he shall not come before the omniscient God. When 
those virgins came which wanted oil, the door was shut. Mat. xxv. ; 
there was no entrance, no admission for them. They had not re- 
ceived God into their hearts, though he was often in their lips, 
and he would not receive them into his house ; the door was shut. 


An exiiortation to fly from this ivrath to come, ivith some helps 


2. It may exhort us to take heed that this separation from 
Christ be not our portion. reader, how much doth it concern 
thee, whatever thou losest, to make sure of the presence of Christ 
in the other world ! Believe it, though thou canst bear the loss of 
an estate, or friends, or relations, yea, and the partial absence of 
Christ in this world, yet the total loss of Christ in the other world 
will be an intolerable loss. They who live here cheerfully without 

■ Chap. IX.] the sinner's last sentence. 295 

him, cannot do so there. When thou shalt be banished from all 
thy possessions, and all thy relations, and all thy worldly comforts, 
then also to be banished from Christ, the Prince of life, and Lord 
of glory, and consolation of Israel, will be a woe with a witness. 

Canst thou read and hear the misery of the wicked, in their total, 
eternal separation from Christ, and not tremble for fear it should 
be thy portion, lest thou shouldst be of the number of them that 
shall hear that dreadful voice, ' Depart from me, ye cursed, into 
everlasting fire ' ? 

To this end, that thou mayest escape this woeful condition of the 
ungodly, obey these few directions. 

1. Believe and bewail your enmity against Christ. He loves 
you, yet by nature thou hatest him, Prov. viii. ; Rom. i. 31, and 
viii. 7. Indeed he may say of thee, and all others in thy condition, 
' They hated me without a cause.' But thou dost hate him, and 
thereby art wholly uncapable of his presence : ' Can two walk to- 
gether unless they be agreed ? ' 

This enmity of thine against Christ, w^hich discovers itself in 
thy daily rebellions against his laws, and opposition to his authority, 
must be felt and lamented. There is little hope of their recovery 
who are sick unto death, and insensible thereof: Mat. ix. 12, ' They 
that be whole need not the physician, but they that are sick.' Thy 
first work must be to know this plague of thine own heart ; and to 
know it, not notionally, as a physician, by reading of it, or behold- 
ing it in others ; but experimentally, as the patient knoweth a 
disease by feeling it, complaining of it, mourning for it, and long- 
ing to be freed from it. 

Consider with thyself how impossible it is for thee to delight in 
the presence of Christ,whom thou abhorrest, and to take pleasure 
in the company of any whom thy nature hath a reluctancy against. 

2, Make Christ your friend through faith in his blood. There 
is no getting to Christ hereafter, but by coming to him here. 
Accept him now, and he will accept thee then. He will say to 
those that are now strangers to him, ' Depart from me, I never 
knew you.' If thou dost not know him, and him crucified, in this 
world, he will not know thee in the other world. Thou canst not 
rationally expect admission into his presence, if thou hast no 
acquaintance with his person. Strangers and enemies are kept out, 
when children, and those that are the friends of the master of the 
house, are taken in. It is by faith in his blood that thou canst be 
united to him, and made one with him ; as the wife is united to the 
husband, and the members to the head: Eph. v. 27, 'That he 

296 THE sinnek's last sentence. [Chap. X. 

miglit present it to himself a glorious church.' Eph. i. 23, 
' Which is the body, the fulness of him that fiUeth all in all.' Eph. 
iii. 17, and being so made one with him, husband and wife, head 
and members shall be together for ever : ' Where I am, there shall 
ye be also,' John xiv. 2, 3. The great ground of Christ's passion 
was, to bring those that believed to God, and that they might 
abide with him eternally. 

3. Follow after holiness. The holy soul can only suit a holy 
Saviour, and therefore the holy soul can only enjoy the holy Saviour. 
Two cannot walk comfortably together, unless there be an agree- 
ment in their dispositions : ' Into the new Jerusalem can in no 
wise enter any thing that defileth, or is unclean,' Rev. xxi. 27. 

Heaven is a holy hill, Ps. xv. 1 ; an undefiled inheritance, 1 
Peter i. 3 ; the holiest or most holy place, Heb. ix. 8, 12 ; and 
therefore will admit of none but holy persons. Dogs must be 
without, when children shall be taken within doors. 


The positive part of the sinners misery, expressed hy fire, and lohy. 

I come now to the second part of the punishment of the wicked, 
and that is pce7ia sensus, the positive part of their misery, or that 
anguish which God will inflict on their souls and bodies. Which 
punishment is set forth, 

1. By its extremity. 

2. Eternity. 

I shall speak first to its extremity, fire : eU to irvp. The Greek 
word iTvp comes from the Hebrew tir, and so the Latin uro, to 
burn. From the Greek irvp comes pyrausta, a fly that lives in the 
fire, and dies out of it. Fire is used to describe the pains of hell, 
because of the violent pain and extreme torture which it causeth. 
Whether it be a material fire, as Augustine and Bullinger think, 
or metaphorical, as Gregory and Calvin, i.e., a pain e'quivalent 
thereunto, nay, much more grievous, as others imagine ; but this 
is certain, no racks or engines of pain or misery here below are 
sufficient to set forth those instruments of eternal death which 
God hath prepared for the wicked in the other world. The wrath 
of God, which is the very dregs of the cup that the damned shall 
drink, is called fire, Ps. xviii. 8 ; nay, God himself in this respect 

Chap. X.] the sinner's last sentence. 297 

is called a consuming fire : Heb. xii. 29, ' For our God is a con- 
suming fire.' 

The doctrine which I shall draw from this positive part of the 
wicked's punishment shall be this : 

Doct. 2. That the wicked shall in the other world depart from 
Christ into fire : ' Depart from me into everlasting fire.' They shall 
not only be stripped of all good, ' Depart from me,' but also be filled 
with all evil, ' into everlasting fire.' Our Saviour, in Mat. xviii. 9, 
calls it hell-fire ; and the Holy Ghost terms it ' the vengeance of the 
eternal fire,' Jude 7. 

In the exj^lication of this doctrine, I shall shew, 

1 . Why the positive punishment of the wicked is set out by fire. 

2. Wherein it exceeds our fire. 

1. For the former. The punishment of the damned resembleth fire, 

(1.) In regard of its intension, and the extreme pain and anguish 
it causeth. Fire is the most outrageous and tormenting of all the 
elements. Nebuchadnezzar thought to fright and fear men to pur- 
pose with the threatening of a fiery furnace. The fire in the valley 
ofHinnom, wherein children were offered as a burnt-offering to the 
devil, was exquisitely tormenting. But who can tell the pains of 
hell ? Those fires are but dark shadows and representations of this 
fire. What elementary or culinary fire is comparable to that fire ? 
Phalaris's bull, Low-Country racks, foreign strapadoes, are nothing ; 
not so much as flea-bites to the fire of hell. 

The woeful efiect of it speaks it terrible. It causeth weeping, 
wailing, and gnashing of teeth. The stoutest heart will then be 
forced to weep like a child for pain ; the most resolute sturdy spirit 
will wail and moan for anguish, and all will bite their flesh, and 
gnash their teeth with envy. There Cain may cry out indeed, ' My 
punishment is greater than I can bear.' For alas! who can dwell 
in everlasting burnings ? 

The infinite wisdom that prepared it, speaks it intolerable ; 
'Prepared for the devil and his angels,' riTOLfiaa/jievov; the wordsigni- 
fieth divinam destinationem, 1 Cor. ii. 9. Heaven is prepared for 
the godly, Mat. xxv. 85 ; and they for heaven, Eom. ix. 23 ; Col. 
i. 12. So wicked men are prepared for hell, Rom. ix. 22 ; and 
hell for them. As if God had from eternity consulted and con- 
trived the most exquisite way and means of afflicting the creature ; 
as if his wrath had set his infinite wisdom and power on work to 
devise the fittest materials for the punishment of the wicked, and 
the most cutting, killing instruments of eternal death. 

The company in this place of torment will render it the more 

298 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XI. 

miserable ; the devil and his angels, those frightful fiends and 
bitter foes of mankind, shall be his eternal associates. That 
cursed crew which drew men to sin, and tempted them so diligently, 
shall be tormented with them, and a torment to them for ever. 
The word for devil properly signifieth a calumniator or slanderer.^ He 
first slandered God to man, and then man to God ; he is therefore 
called the accuser of his brethren, Kom. xii. 11. Those evil angels 
have their names either from their natures, as spirits ; or office, as 
angels ; or dignity, as principalities and powers ; or malice against 
God, as Satan, devil ; or their fall and fruits, as unclean spirit, evil 
one, father of lies, murderer, deaf and dumb spirit. The devil is 
mentioned singularly, because there is one chief, the prince of devils. 
Mat. xii ; and the rest under him ; or because they are all one 
in counsel, as if but one in being. The chief devil hath many 
others under him, at his call and command. This fire is said 
to be prepared for the devil and his angels, because they are the 
greatest and chief est of sinners, others are but their scholars. 
Now how hot is that hell, that fire which God from all eternity 
devised for the devils, his most malicious enemies ! And how ill 
will they speed who have millions of such dreadful devils for their 
everlasting companions. 

(2.) In regard of the universality of the pains it will cause. Fire 
hath all manner of torments in it, and afflicts the whole man. If 
any be troubled extremely with the gout, or the stone, or the colic, 
or the toothache, or any one racking distemper, how dolefully doth 
he cry out and complain ! But if all manner of diseases should in 
extremity seize a man, and that in every part of him, how dread- 
fully would he weep and wail ! The truth is, colic, stone, cancer, 
gout, toothache, pleurisy, St Anthony's fire, and all other, are in- 
cluded in this fire. It hath not only extremity, but also universality 
of torments ; thick darkness for the eyes, hideous yelling for the ears, 
loathsome brimstone for the smell ; and every sense molested and 
off'ended in the highest degree, every part tormented in flames. 


The difference hehveen our fires and hell fires. 

But the great pain of the wicked will more fully appear, if we 
consider the diff'erence between our fires on earth, and that in hell. 

^ TcD 5ta/36Xw diro rh Sta/3aX\ov, because he strikes through with his darts ; /cat rott 
^T^^Xoij avTov, as his agents and emissaries. 

Chap. XI.] the sinner's last sentence. 299 

1. They differ in the cause of their kindling. Our fires are 
kindled with cold air, a pufif of wind ; thus the spark is blown up 
into a flame. ' But Tophet is prepared of old ; for the king it is 
prepared ; the pile therefore is fire and much wood : and the breath 
of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it,' Isa. xxx. 33. 
Oh what a flame is that which is blown up by the breath of an 
almighty God. What a vast difference is there between the breath 
of man, or of a pair of bellows, and the breath of a God ? This 
breath is like a stream of brimstone ; and if the breath that kind- 
leth the fire be like a stream, or rather a sea of brimstone, what is the 
fire itself ? What a vast difference is there between the breath of 
a pair of bellows, and the fire kindled by them, 

2. They differ in their nature. Our fires are by philosophers 
described to be a stream of sulphurous particles, or swarm of motes 
of brimstone, violently agitated, and forcibly breaking forth from 
those respective bodies to which they did formerly belong. And 
this is apparent, because when anybody is thoroughly burnt, the 
sulphurous parts are almost gone ; and when those parts are 
gone what remains will burn no longer. But the fire of hell, 
whether it be material or metaphorical, is quite another 
thing. It is a deep impression of infinite wrath and fury 
on every member of the body, and faculty of the soul, 
And oh what a fearful thing is it to fall into the hands of the living 
God : ' For our God is a consuming fire,' Heb. xii. 29. The wrath 
of God is sometimes compared to that of a lion roaring after her 
prey, which tears, and rents, and kills, and slays, without the least 
pity ; and to a bear robbed of her whelps, which claws and wounds, 
and destroys whatsoever comes near her ; but, alas ! the wrath of a 
God is infinitely more cutting, more killing. The mountains are 
moved, the rocks are rent in pieces, the stoutest oaks are rooted up, the 
foundations of the earth tremble, the great luminaries are darkened, 
the course of nature is overturned, when he is wroth. ' Thou, even 
thou art to be feared ; for who may stand when thou art angry ?' 

If his wrath be kindled but a little, how woefully do his own 
children cry out ! Job vi. 4, ' The arrows of the Almighty are 
within me.' Job xiii. 24, ' Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and 
boldest me for thine enemy ?' Ps. Ixxxviii., ' Their spirits are drunk 
up, while they suffer his terrors, they are distracted.' What then 
will be the condition of them on whom he will pour out all his 
wrath ? If a small degree of God's anger be so terrible, when it is 
mingled with love, what will a full cup of pure wrath be ? 

3. They differ in the ends of their creation. Our fires were 

300 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XL 

created for our service and comfort ; God made these for the use 
and benefit of man, to fence us against the cold, to melt and mould 
metals, and form them into several moulds, &c. But the fire of hell is 
created for the torment of men and devils ; God makes it of such 
a nature as may best suit his end. For every wise agent fitteth 
his means to his end ; and the more wise the agent is, the more 
proper means he findeth out for his end. Now when the only wise 
God, to whom angels themselves are fools, shall set his infinite 
wisdom a-work about the most proper means of racking and tor- 
turing the poor creature, surely it will be done to purpose. As 
when his love sets his wisdom a-work, to find out a way to comfort 
his children, what rivers of pleasures, weights of glory, crowns of 
life, fulness of joy doth he provide ! So when his wrath sets wisdom 
a-work to find out a way for the afilicting his enemies, what sting- 
ing adders, and gnawing worms, and chains of darkness, and lakes 
of brimstone doth he provide ! 

4. They differ in the fuel that feeds them. Our fires are main- 
tained and preserved in burning by wood or coals, or somewhat that 
is combustible, and the fire must be suitable to the meanness and 
limitedness of the fuel ; but the fire of hell is fed with the curse of 
a righteous law, and the wrath of an infinite God, and the lusts of 
the damned. Ah, what work will sin, backed with the curse and 
wrath of God, make in the souls and bodies of men. If David, 
beloved of God, under the weight of sin, and sense of divine dis- 
pleasures, went mourning all the day, and crieth out so mournfully, 
' Thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. 
There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger ; nor rest 
in my bones because of my sin. Mine iniquities are gone over mine 
head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me,' Ps. xxxviii. 2-4. 
Oh what will they suffer, and how will they roar and howl, whose 
sins, as a mountain of lead, shall press and oppress their con- 
sciences ! all whose lusts shall gnaw their spirits, set home and 
close to their souls by the fury and malediction of God. 

5, They differ in this, that our fires are accompanied with light ; 
but the fire of hell, though it hath heat to torment, hath no light 
to comfort. It is a state of darkness, of utter darkness. Mat. xxv. ; 
of blackness of darkness, Jude 13. They have only light 
enough to see themselves endlessly and easelessly wretched and 
miserable. Darkness is dreadful, but what darkness like utter 
darkness, or blackness of darkness ? The Egyptians did not move 
out of their places in the time of their darkness ; but what will 
men do in the dark, in the midst of ravenous wolves, and roaring 

Chap. XII.] the sinner's last sentence. 301 

lions, and stinging adders, and fiery serpents, and frightful 

6. They differ in their operations. 

(1.) Our fires work only on the body, they cannot pierce the 
soul ; but hell-fire pierceth the soul. Spirits burn in it as well 
as bodies : ' Gro into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his 
angels.' If it seize on devils, it will also on the souls of men. 
The spirit whose senses are most acute, will feel the greatest 
pain in the unquenchable fire. 

(2.) Our fires destroy and consume their fuel ; they turn their 
wood and coals into dust and ashes ; the bodies of men are by them 
turned into ashes, and hereby the pain ceaseth with the life of the 
creature. But the fire of hell will never consume, though it be ever 
consuming ; it will always be destroying, but never destroy the sinner. 
The damned will be always dying, but never die. The almighty 
hand of God will preserve them, to undergo that wrath that is 
intolerable, and those flames that are unquenchable. 


The fulness ofioicTced mens misery, in that it is positive and priva- 
tive, ivith some cautions against it. 

Use. Learn hence the full misery of the wicked in the other 
world. They shall not only be deprived of all good, in their 
banishment from the presence of God but also be afflicted with all 
evil, in their suffering the pains of hell-fire. The godly in the 
other world shall be perfectly blessed, in their freedom from all 
penal and all moral evil, and their fruition of all that is truly good, 
for they shall ever be with the Lord, who is an universal good. 
So the wicked in the world to come shall be perfectly cursed in 
the absence of whatever is comfortable, and in the presence of what- 
soever is dreadful, and may render them miserable ; snares, fire, 
brimstone, a horrible tempest shall be rained on them as their 
portion. Woeful are the fruits of sin oftentimes in this world. 
It keeps good from men here, strips them of their estates, relations, 
liberties, limbs, health, names ; nay of the gospel, ordinances, and 
seasons of grace, and brings on them much evil here, aches, pains, 
diseases in their bodies, horrors and terrors in their souls. But 
these are nothing to the effects of sin in the other world. Here in 
the midst of judgment, mercy is remembered ; there is no state 

302 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XII. 

on earth of mere or pure wrath ; all good things are not re- 
moved, nor all evil things inflicted on any. In the worst estate 
there is life, and that clothed with some favours ; the pained have 
some intermission, or at least remission of their pains. In the 
lowest estate there is hope of better, and that is no small cordial to 
a poor creature ; there is no condition so bad, but might have 
been worse, both for its intension and duration. But now in the 
other world the wicked have judgment without a mite of mercy, 
and misery without any ease, either in regard of degree or inter- 
mission ; all good banished from them, and all evil inflicted 
on them. 

Exhort. If the wicked shall be thus punished with the loss of 
Christ and the pains of hell-fire, it exhorts us to flee from the wrath 
to come. Ah, who would fry one hour in flames for a kingdom ! 
How dreadful is the hearing of fire, fire, in the night ! How 
doth the very sound of it fright men and women ! Ah, then, 
what will the feeling of it be in utter darkness, in that black long 
night of eternity ! Sinner, when thou art tempted to sin, con- 
sider whether the satisfaction of thy lust will make thee amends 
for, and balance the loss of, God, and thy suff'ering the flames 
of hell. 

Alas ! how little is the pleasure of sin, but how terrible, how 
intolerable, is the pain of it ! What wise man would be racked a 
day for a moment's delight ? much less suffer the wrath of an 
infinite God for the dreggy pleasures of a beast. Dost thou 
think thou canst bear it? art thou able to endure it? canst 
thou suffer the pain of our fire ? if not, how wilt thou endure 
the pain of that fire which the breath of a God kindleth and keepeth 
burning — which tortures the soul as well as the body, and which 
was prepared of God for the afflicting and punishing his crea- 
tures? friend, fly to Christ if thou wouldst flee from the 
wrath to come, 1 Thes. i. 10. He is the only screen between 
thee and the fire of hell. Fly from sin if thou wouldst fly from 
hell-fire. Fly the cause, and thou fliest the effect. Take away 
sin, and you take away hell. Whatsoever thou sowest now, thou 
shalt reap hereafter, Gal. vi. 7. Sow lust, and reap the lake that 
burns with fire and brimstone for ever. Sow holiness, and reap 
happiness : ' They who sow to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap 
corruption ; but they who sow to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit 
reap life everlasting,' Gal. vi. 8. 

Chap. XIII.] the sinner's last sentence. 3u3 


The eternity of the sinner's misery in the other ivorld, loith the 
grand reason of it. 

I come now to the eternity of the sinner's punishment in that 
word everlasting. 

To alcoviov. The word is referred to God, and then is used for 
that which is eternal, a parte a7ite, or that never had a beginning. 
Sometimes it is referred to the rational creature, and then signi- 
fieth an eternity, a parte post, or that which never hath an end. 
The word comes from atcoi/, an age, because what is everlasting 
endureth through all ages and generations, and infinitely beyond 

The doctrine which I shall draw from this property of ungodly 
men's punishment shall be this : 

Doct. 3. That the punishment of the wicked in the other world 
will be everlasting. It will not only be extreme, in regard of 
its intension, but also eternal, in regard of its duration. Their 
privative punishment will be eternal : ' They shall be punished 
with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord,' 
2 Thes. i. 7, 8 ; and so will their positive punishment be, Jude 7. 
Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, are set forth 
suffering the vengeance of the eternal fire. And Christ tells us, 
' There the worm never dieth, and the fire never goeth out,' Mat. 
xviii. ; and again it is called ' the lake that burns with fire and 
brimstone for ever.' 

It were no small ease to the damned, if they had hopes of any 
end of their misery ; though after as many millions of millions of 
years as have been moments since the creation, and as are creatures 
small and great in both worlds ; but it may not be, it cannot be ; 
after all these years they are not to remain one moment the less 
in hell. 

I shall only give the reasons of it, and proceed to the use. 

There are several reasons given why the sinner's temporal fault 
should have an eternal punishment. 

1. Some tell us, he refused eternal life, and therefore it is but 
reason he should be punished with eternal death. They had eternal 
pains and eternal pleasures set before them, and they chose eternal 
pains. In choosing the way, they chose the end ; they chose the 
way of the flesh, the way of their own hearts, and so consequenti- 

304 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XIII. 

ally they chose hell, to which that way led. Now if a man hath 
but his own choice, whom can he blame but himself ? If a man 
have what he desireth and loveth, if it be ill with him, he must 
thank himself : ' He that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own 
soul ; all that hate me love death,' Prov. viii. 36 ; Jer. iv. 17, 18. 

2. Others tell us that if they should live here for ever, they would 
sin for ever ; therefore God, taking the will for the deed, punisheth 
them for ever. They die eternally for sin, who would have lived 
eternally in sin. Vellet sine fine vivere, ut posset sine fine peccare, 
(Greg.) : Man would live here for ever if he had his will, that 
he might sin for ever. Scotus and Aquinas tell us. Peccant in 
(eterno suo, et puniuntur in ceterno Dei: They sin in their eter- 
nity, and God punisheth them in his eternity. If God would 
give them an eternal abode on earth, they would employ it in dis- 
obeying and dishonouring him eternally ; and because they would 
sin for ever, therefore they shall suffer for ever. Jer. viii. 5, ' The 
children of Israel are slidden back with a perpetual backsliding ; 
they hold fast deceit, and refuse to return.' How loath are they 
to forsake their lusts. 1. They hold them fast : ' As a fountain 
sendeth forth water, so doth the sinner send forth wickedness,' Jer. 
vi. 7. Now a fountain sendeth forth water freely without con- 
straint, and constantly without cessation. What anything doth 
naturally, it doth easily and unweariedly. The sun shines natur- 
ally, and he shines without any pains or tiresomeness ; the foun- 
tain sends forth water naturally, and doth it with ease and con- 
stancy. So the sinner sins naturally, and doth it delightfully and 
unweariedly. When the body and its members, the instruments 
of sin, are tired and worn out, and unable to execute the lusts of 
the flesh, the body of sin is still fresh and vigorous in plotting and 
conspiring evil, and in embracing and cherishing evil motions ; 
whence it appears that man sinning naturally would, if he lived, 
sin eternally, and then, say they, he is tormented for ever. But, 

3. The principal reason of the eternity of the sinner's misery, 
and indeed the only reason in my judgment, with due respect to 
others, is the infinite demerit of sin, as committed against an infi- 
nite majesty. Because the sinner is not capable of bearing a 
punishment infinite in intension, therefore he must have it infinite 
in duration. I doubt not but if the sinner were able to bear the 
infinite stroke of divine justice, notwithstanding his will to sin for 
ever, and his choice of eternal death, and all the other reasons that 
are usually brought for the eternity of their pains, he should not 
stay long in that prison of hell, but quickly be released. But be- 

Chap. XIV.] the sinner's last sentence. 305 

cause a poor finite creature hath not a back strong enough to bear 
an infinite blow, therefore he must be always suffering. 

The notoriety and malignity of sin proceeds from the dignity of 
the person against whom it is committed, as I have largely shewn 
elsewhere.^ Because the authority of an infinite God is despised, 
the law of an infinite God disobeyed, the love of an infinite God 
undervalued, and the image of an infinite God defaced by sin, there- 
fore there is an infinite demerit in sin : and because man cannot give 
satisfaction infinite in value, therefore he must give that satisfaction 
which is infinite in time, or rather in its eternity, Ps. xlix. 7, 8, 
and li. 4 ; Job vii. 20. And considering that God was resolved to 
have full satisfaction for sin, I conceive Christ himself could not 
have satisfied for the sins of any, if he could not have offered a 
sacrifice of infinite merit to answer the infinite demerit of sin. But 
herein the wisdom and goodness of God did superabound, in pro- 
viding an antidote stronger than the poison ; for whereas sin is 
infinite, only objective, as committed against an infinite God ; the 
sacrifice of Christ is infinite, both objective and subjective, as 
offered up to an infinite Majesty, and offered by one that was an 
infinite Majesty ; whose person being infinite, rendered his sacri- 
fice of such boundless value and merit. 


How little cause to envy sinners, and Jioio careful ive sJiould he to 
avoid their eternal misery.. 

Use. 1. We may learn hence what little cause any have to envy 
sinners their fat and sweet in this world. Alas ! for their poor 
short pleasures of sin, they must have extreme and eternal tor- 
ments. Who would grudge them their portion, or eat of their 
dainties, or buy their bargains, that is not mad, and quite bereft of 
his wits : Prov. xxiii. 17, 18, ' My son, envy not sinners ; for surely 
there is an end ;' ay, and a sad end for poor sinners. An end, of 
woe, and wrath, and death, and misery, without any end or ease. 
Ah, what sad objects are they of pity who laugh a minute, and 
must weep for ever ! who for a little giggling mirth, and poor drossy 
pleasures, must fry eternally in hell flames among devils and 
damned spirits. 

Exliort. Reader, believe and consider this misery of the wicked, 
and be restless till thou art secured against it. Ponder it well, to 

^ In a treatise called The Incomparableness of God. 
VOL. V. U 

306 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XIV, 

be among devils, those stinging serpents, roaring lions, frightful 
monsters, would make thy hair stand on end, and thy heart to ache; 
but to be amongst them in extremity of torments, in fire, in fire 
kindled by the infinite wrath of God, and in universality of tor- 
ments; to have all kinds of judgments and plagues inflicted on 
thee, ay, and on every part of thy body, and all the powers of thy 
soul ; and to suff'er all this for ever, ever, ever ! Canst thou bear 
the company of lions, and bears, and wolves, and adders, and ser- 
pents, and the deformed monsters here for ever ? How then wilt 
thou bear the company of devils, hideous, monstrous, frightful hell- 
hounds, for ever ? Thou canst not bear the pain of our fire for one 
day, no, not for one quarter of an hour, how then wilt thou bear 
the pain of hell-fire for ever ? ' Ah, who can dwell in everlasting 
burnings ? ' who can endure abiding flames ? The patient, in a 
violent fit of the stone, or colic, or gout, supports himself with this 
cordial. This will not last long. The woman in labour, in the ex- 
tremity of her pains, hath this to revive her. All this, through the 
kindness of God, will soon be over. The primitive Christians com- 
forted themselves under their dreadful sufferings from their perse- 
cutors with this. Our light afflictions are but for a moment ; they 
are black clouds, but will soon pass over, and vanish away. But, 
reader, if once thou art turned into hell, into those unconceivable, 
intolerable flames, amongst those frightful devils, thou canst have 
nothing to bear up thy spirit, not the least hope of any cessation, or 
intermission, or remission of thy pains. Ah, how will despair, like 
a dagger, stab thee to the heart ! What a cutting corrosive will it 
be to think, I am here amongst horrid, hideous, hellish devils, who 
have been my tempters, and are now my tormentors, banished the 
blissful presence of God and Jesus Christ, suffering those torments, 
and pains, and misery, to which all the fires and racks on earth are 
but as the raising of skin to Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace. Ah, 
what tongue can tell what this poor body suffereth in every part of 
it ! Ah, what understanding can apprehend the anguish and re- 
morse of this soul, its cutting reflections on what it hath been and 
done, and its killing prevision of what it must undergo, and I must 
endure all this for ever ! Though my pains are so extreme in their 
intension, yet if they were short in their duration, I had some 
ground of comfort ; nay, if they were to last no more millions of 
years than there are stars in heaven, and drops of water in the 
ocean, I should have some crevice of light, some hope to bear uj) 
my heart ; but alas, alas ! I am here in the midst of this cursed 
crew, under these extreme ineffable pains, and must be here for 

Chap. XIV.] the sinner's last sentence. 307 

ever. The wrath upon me is abiding wrath, John iii. 24. It is 
wrath to come, and ever will be wrath to come. After ages, and 
generations, and millions of them, ay, and millions of millions of 
them, my pain would not be a moment the nearer a period. My 
night of darkness and horror will be a long night indeed ; the clock 
will never strike, the time will never pass, the morn will never 
dawn, and the sun will never rise. Oh what shall I do ? thousands, 
and thousands of thousands, millions, and millions of millions of 
millions, signify not a moment to my wretched and cursed eternity. 
Ah such company, such misery, and that for ever, ever, ever ! 
Header, doth not thy soul tremble to think of this, which will be 
the portion, probably, of most in the Christian world ; and wilt 
thou give thyself a moment's rest, in a state liable and obnoxious 
to it ? For the sake of thy precious soul, if thou hast any true self- 
love, break off thy sins by repentance, and .thine iniquities by 
accepting of thy Kedeemer. Hell hath not yet shut its mouth 
upon thee, nor is the gate of mercy yet shut against thee. Oh 
bless the divine patience, and know the things that concern thine 
own ]3eace. 

Thy life is short and uncertain ; when once death seizeth thee, 
thou art immediately fixed, there can be no change, no alteration 
of thy state. Tears, prayers, groans, sighs, sobs, will work nothing, 
prevail nothing with the judge to alter his sentence, or thy con- 
dition. ' Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.' 
Therefore, sinner, ' agree with thine adversary quickly, while 
thou art in the way with him ; lest at any time the adversary deliver 
thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and 
thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no 
means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing,' 
Mat. V. 25, 26. But having written largely of this in another 
treatise, and intending to speak of it here only by way of preface 
to what I mainly intend, and now come to discourse of, and that is 
the nature, danger, cause, and curse of sins of omission, in the rea- 
sons of this severe sentence, I shall speak no more thereof, but pro- 
ceed to the third general part of the text, and that is the reason. 

308 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XY. 


The reason of Christ's severe sentence, and a question resolved, 
whether the righteous, hy their acts of charity, do not deserve 
heaven, as well as the wicked, by their omission thereof, deserve 

Thirdly, The reason of Christ's severe sentence against them: 
ver. 42, 43, ' For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat ; I 
was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink. I was a stranger, and ye 
took me not in ; naked, and ye clothed me not ; sick and in prison, 
and ye visited me not.' 

The words have nothing of difficulty in them, and therefore I 
shall not waste time in the explication of them. Every one knows 
what it is not to give meat to the hungry, or drink to the thirsty, 
or raiment to the naked, &c. That it is the omission of a duty, 
viz., charity, which God commands, and also that believers are the 
members of Christ, Eph. i. 23, Christ mystical, 1 Cor. xii. 12 ; 
and therefore what injuries are done to them are done to Christ, 
Acts ix. Only it may be needful to speak to these two particulars 
before I raise the doctrine. 

1. Whether there be not the like ground of the salvation of the 
blessed that there is of the damnation of the wicked ; namely, the 
merit of their works. Both seem to speak it : ' Come, ye blessed,' 
&c. ; ' For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat.' Again, ' Go, ye 
cursed,' &c. ; ' For I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat,' &c. 

2. Why Christ will try men at the great day by the performance 
or neglect of this duty of charity, and not rather by their perform- 
ance or neglect of j)i"ayer, hearing, watchfulness, or some other 
duty, or by their humility, heavenly-mindedness, patience, temper- 
ance, &c. 

In answer to the first, though Bellarmine affirms there is the 
same reason in each, and Cornel. A Lapide, with the rest of the 
papists, concur therein, yet if they were not wilfully blind, they 
might see enough in the text to disprove them. 

1. In that Christ calls to the blessed to inherit the kingdom. 
K\7)povoixr}(jaTe tyjv /SaaiXelav, which word signifieth hcereditatis 
jure possidere, to enjoy a thing by right of inheritance, from 
parents and ancestors, and not by right of purchase, or deserving ; 
therefore heaven is often called KKrjpovofiia, an inheritance, Col. i. 
12 ; Eph. i. 14 ; 1 Pet. i. 3. So the type of it, the land of Canaan, 

GhAP. XV.] THE sinner's LAST SENTENCE. 309 

is often called by the LXX, probably from the division or distribution 
of the land by lot to them, Josh. xiv. 2, which to a word is the im- 
port of the word.^ Now, they who enjoy an estate by right of son- 
ship do not possess it by merit. What can a child, who may in- 
herit his deceased father's estate in his childhood or infancy, do to 
deserve that estate ? 

2. In that Christ tells them that this kingdom was prepared 
for them before the foundation of the world. Now, what could 
they do before they had a being to deserve this inheritance ? And 
the apostle is positive that all is to be referred to the purpose of 
God, not to the piety of any men. ' For,' saith he, ' the children 
being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the 
purpose of God according to election might stand, (mark) not of 
works, 'but of him that calleth ; it w^as said unto her, The elder 
shall serve the younger,' Kom. ix. 11, 12 ; Eph. i. 4; Kev. xiii. 8. 

If it be objected, that God foresaw that they would improve 
their free-will unto the performance of such good works, whereby 
they would deserve heaven, and therefore chose them to heaven, 
which the papists stand much upon, I answer, 

1. The foresight of their faith and good works cannot be the 
cause of their election, because their election is by God himself de- 
clared to be the cause of their faith and good works. If their faith 
and obedience be the effect of election, they cannot be the cause of 
it ; but so they are : Job vi. 37, ' All that the Father hath given 
me shall come to me,' i.e., believe on me. Again, ' As many as 
were ordained to eternal life believed,' Acts xiii. 48 ; so for good 
works, John xv. 13 ; Eph. i. 4 ; Eom. viii. 30. 

2. Then man's will must be the ground of God's actions, not his 
own will. The Scripture tells us that God ' worketh all things 
after the counsel of his own will,' Eph. i. 11. But, say the papists, in 
election, God worketh according to the improvement of man's will. 

3. Then the accomplishment of God's decree depends upon the 
mutable and uncertain will of man, so that there is a possibility 
that God may be disappointed of his choice, and his elect of that 
happiness to which they are chosen, if both depend on a change- 
able creature. But the word of God speaks the contrary, that God 
cannot be frustrated of his choice: Ps. xxxiii. 11, ' The counsel of 
the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all genera- 
tions.' His decrees are sure, 2 Tim. ii. 19, though his sentence 
may be altered, Jer. xviii. 7-10. Nor can the elect be disappointed : 

^ 'A K\7)pos sors et voij.os lex, seu vejuw, distrihuo quia haereditates olim per sortem 
distribui solebant. 

310 THE sinner's last SENTENCE. [ChAP. XY. 

Mat. xxiv. 24, ' If it were possible, they would deceive the very 
elect.' Here the impossibility of their seduction is grounded on the 
stability of their election. 

4. Then there can be no election of infants to everlasting life ; I 
mean, of such as God foreseeth or ordaineth to die in their infancy, 
because God cannot foresee that these will improve the liberty of 
their wills unto faith and repentance. That infants may be saved 
is clear : Mat. xix. 14, ' Suffer little children to come unto me, and 
forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.' Matthew 
calls them iraihla, Luke, ^pe(f)rj ; the first word signifieth puerulus, 
a little child, — one, say the critics, that is in the first seven years of 
his age ; but the latter, Luke xviii. 15, signifieth infants newly 
born, or sucking babes. Now, if of such is the kingdom of heaven, 
then they may be saved. But none are saved save such as are 
elected ; therefore without any foresight of faith or good works, 
rational creatures may be elected, Rom. viii. 30, and xi. 7. 

5. If foresight of men's works be the cause of their election, then 
man hath whereof to glory. He is then the cause of his own sal- 
vation. Election is the original of all ; a spring that runneth under 
ground for a time, first bubbleth up and discovers itself in effectual 
calling, so glideth along in a life of faith and holiness, and at last 
emptieth itself in the ocean of peace, and joy, and happiness ; so 
that if man be the cause of his election, then he may thank himself 
for his salvation. John is no more beholden to God than Judas, 
for it is the improvement of the freedom of his will which brings 
him to heaven. God did as much for Judas, say they, as for John. 
But how contrary is this to the word of truth : Rom. iv. 2, ' But if 
Abraham were justified by works, he had whereof to glory.' The 
Scripture speaks in another dialect : ' By grace ye are saved 
through faith ; not of works, lest any man should boast,' Eph. ii. 
8, 9. The knife with which Adam cut his own throat, and where- 
with he murdered his posterity, was pride ; he would hold of him- 
self, and not of God. The wise and gracious God, in the way he 
hath taken for our recovery, is pleased to lay this knife as far as 
may be out of our way, lest we be ruined by it a second time. 
Though this pride, the popish doctrine of merits, and foresight of 
good works maintains ; but God tells us, man is nothing, and God 
all in all, ' that no flesh might glory in his presence,' 1 Cor. i. 

6. The Holy Ghost gives us the true ground or motive of elec- 
tion, far differing from this of the papists, and that is the will and 
pleasure of God : ' Having predestinated us according to the good 

Chap. XVI.] the sinner's last sentence. 311 

pleasure of his will,' Eph. i. 5 ; ' Being predestinated according to 
the purpose of- him,' ver. 11. 

Eom. ix. 18, ' Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have 
mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.' 

Mat. xi. 26, ' Even so, Father : for so it seemed good in thy 

2 Tim. i. 9, ' Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy call- 
ing, not according to our work, hut according to his own purpose 
and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began.' 
Again, .the particle /or, enim, 'yap,'^ is counted causal, not that 
always it notetli the cause, but sometimes a reason or argument, 
whether taken from the cause or effect, Mat. i. 18, and xv. 14; 
2 Tim. ii. 7. Besides, this is sufficient for parity of reason, or the 
resemblance, that as some go by the way of good works to heaven, 
so others by the way of evil works to hell. Good wofks are not 
iroLrjTLKa, ceu causa salutis, sed arj/xavrLKa, respechc fidei et finis ejus 
vitce ceternce, (Glass. ;) not the cause of reigning, but the way to the 
kingdom. Once more, let the papists shew the same proportion 
between a few imperfect defective good works, which men are 
enabled to do by the help of God, and the unconceivable eternal 
joys and glory of heaven, that is between the evil works of men and 
the endless pains of hell, and then let them plead their merits. 
They may, if they please, observe that the saints themselves are so 
far from pleading their merits, or boasting their deserts, that they 
hardly remember that they ever did those works which Christ pro- 
claims to their praise, and rewards through his own blood with a 
kingdom : ' Lord, when saw we thee hungry or thirsty ?' &c. Oh, 
what a vast difference is there between an upright humble Chris- 
tian, who acknowledgeth himself less than the least of all God's 
mercies, and a proud papist, that dares say, Codum gratis non 
accipiam ! 


Why Christ loill try men at the great day hy acts of charity. 

The second question to be discussed before I proceed to the doc- 
trine is. Why Christ trieth men at that day by the neglect or per- 
formance of charity, and not of some other duty, as hearing, pray- 

^ Piscat. in loc. 

312 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XVI. 

ing, watching ? &c., or by their patience, humility, temperance, or 
heavenly-mindedness ? &c. To this I answer : 

These works of charity are by a synecdoche put for new obe- 
dience, and all the good works of a Christian's life. Though Christ 
mention those as the test of men at that day, yet he doth not 
hereby exclude others. The Scripture abundantly proveth that 
other graces and duties shall be rewarded at that day, 1 Pet. i. 6, 7 ; 
Mat. X. 18 ; Heb. vi. 10, &c., and that men shall be condemned 
for other sins beside the neglect of charity. The want of the wed- 
ding-garment. Mat. xxii. 12, 13 ; unprofitableness in the improve- 
ment of talents, Mat. xxv. 30. We have a bed-roll of other sins 
condemning, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10; Eev. xxi. 8; indeed every sin, any 
sin that men have lived in and loved, who have died impenitent, 
will be found damnable at that day. 

It cannot rationally be supposed that the performance or neglect 
of those outward acts of charity should be the general test, I mean 
of all; for how then shall those that die in their infancy and child- 
hood, or such as are extremely poor, be tried, who are rendered 
wholly incapable of feeding the hungry, or clothing the naked. 
Neither do I judge it shall be the sole test, for it is possible for a 
man in those outward acts to be bountiful to men, who hath no re- 
gard or fear of Grod in him. The apostle supposeth a man may 
give all his goods to the poor, and yet be void of true love to the 
poor, 1 Cor. xiii. 3. It is unquestionable that the worship of the 
blessed God is much more excellent than our kindness to the 
children of men, as Calvin well observeth on the text ; yet Christ, 
who knoweth the hearts of all men, and from what principles they 
act, will mention the saints' acts of charity at that day, and reward 
them accordingly, and will mention the sinner's omission of charity 
at that day, and condemn him for it. 

1. Because acts of charity are more obvious and apparent to the 
world. Though the Christian usually is close therein, and will not 
let his left hand know what his right hand doth, yet charity, like 
musk, will discover itself; the objects thereof will publish their 
benefactors ; and he himself thinks it needful sometimes to be open 
and public in his liberality, though not for self-ostentation, yet for 
others' imitation. Luther tells us that Christ will try men this 
way, because the world shall justify his sentence both of reward 
and punishment. If a man be charitable, all his neighbours take 
notice of it, yea, commonly love him for it ; the vilest of them 
will commend him, though by his holy conversation he condemns 
them. I suppose this is the good man of whom the apostle speaks, 

Chap. XVI.] the sinner's last sentence. 313 

when he tells us, that for such a one a man will even dare to die, 
Kom. V. Therefore when Christ shall acknowledge the charity of 
his people, and then reward them with himself, the wicked neigh- 
bours of these men will confess the truth thereof, and their con- 
sciences will force them to consent thereto. Again, there is hardly 
a muckworm, whose motto is to have and to hold, to heap and 
to hoard up, who will as soon part with his blood as anything 
considerable to the poor, but all his neighbours, good and bad, 
observe him, speak of him, and generally condemn him for his 
earthly-mindedness. So that when Christ, at the great day, shall 
accuse him, they will be forced to attest the truth of that accusa- 
tion, and when Christ at that day shall condemn him, they cannot 
but agree to the sentence : Ps. lii. 6, 7, 'The righteous also shall 
see, and fear, and shall laugh at him : Lo, this is the man that made 
not God his strength ; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, 
and strengthened himself in his wickedness.' 

2. Because these acts of charity are signs of faith and love, to 
which graces heaven is promised, James i. 12, and ii. 5 ; John iii. 
16, 17, 36. Christ, who knoweth the heart, understandeth from what 
inward root our outward fruit springeth ; and therefore faith and 
love, which are the fountain of true charity, James ii. 15-17, being 
inward and secret, he mentions what is more open and known as a 
sign and testimony of that faith in him, and love to him, which 
are invisible and unknown to the world. Faith is a grace seated 
in the heart : ' With the heart man believeth unto righteousness ; ' 
where by heart, I suppose, is understood the understanding and 
will ; for faith, in habitu, is in each ; and in exercitio, an act of 
both. And the heart is called a hidden man, 1 Pet. iii. ; but it 
discovers itself to the believer by love. For when once the soul 
applieth Christ for pardon, and begins to hope for those great and 
good things which Christ hath purchased for him and promised to 
him, this faith kindleth a holy flame of love in the affections to 
Christ, and hereby the soul understands that he is a true believer 
beloved of God ; for our love is but the reverberation of God's love 
back again to himself, 1 John iv. 19. And then faith discovers it- 
self to others by these fruits and effects of love to God, i.e., 
feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. St Paul tells us that 
faith works by love, as its tool or instrument, Gal. v. 6. Love to 
God produceth love to his saints, and love to the saints will draw 
out the hand, and heart, and purse, to relieve them in their wants, 
1 John iii. 17. Love is costly and expensive, thinks nothing too 
much or too good for its beloved. Mary's box of ointment is 

314 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XVI. 

very precious, but not too precious for her Lord. Life is worth all 
the world, yet laid down for a Christian at the command of love, 
1 John iii. 16, 'Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he 
laid down his life for us.' 

3. Because practical godliness, of which charity is a part, will be 
that by which men shall be tried at the great day. Our Lord 
Jesus doth hereby declare, that it is not the profession, but the 
practice of religion that will be inquired into by the judge of quick 
and dead. It is not saying. Be thou fed, and be thou clothed, 
without giving wherewith to be fed and clothed ; but it is feeding 
the hungry and clothing the naked that shall be rewarded. Good 
words may please ourselves, but good works only please God, and 
profit our own souls: 'Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter 
into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doth the will of my Father 
which is in heaven.' It is the doing, not the talking Christian that 
hath the promise of heaven, Mat. vii. It is the practical, not the 
verbal Christian that hath a right to heaven, through the precious 
blood of Christ, and the gracious promise of God : Kev. xxii. 14, 
' Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have 
right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the 
city.' It is the real, not the nominal Christian, that is prepared for 
heaven. None are fit to do the will of God in heaven, but those 
who have been accustomed to do the will of God on earth. There 
is a making meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, Col. i. 
12. A young man by the school is made meet for the univer- 
sity, and a Christian by practical holiness is fitted for eternal 

Our Kedeemer would hereby declare, that all shows and shadows 
of godliness, all gaudy professions and curious flourishes of religion, 
if void of good works, though, as glow-worms, they shine some- 
what in the dark night of this world, yet in the long day of eternity 
they will all vanish and disappear. God will not then examine 
who hath been the greatest talker of his will, but the greatest walker 
in his way ; nor who hath been the best speaker, but who hath 
been the best doer : ' For whoso looketh into the perfect law of 
liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but 
a doer of the work ; this man shall be blessed in his deed,' James i. 
25. Hearing the word, without doing the work it commands, 
brings no blessing. The life and substance of religion consists in 
practising what is good, and not in praising what is good. It con- 
sists in Scripture duties, not in Scripture phrases. 

4. Because Christ would hereby publish to the world the great 

Chap. XVII. ] the sinner's last sentence. 315 

respect he hath for charity ; therefore he tells us he will take 
special notice of his saints' charity at that day. Charity, whether in 
relieving the oppressed, or comforting the sorrowful, or counselling 
the doubtful, or supporting the feeble, or feeding the hungry, or 
visiting the sick, or clothing the naked, is highly esteemed of Christ. 
To what duty hath he annexed more or larger promises ? Mat. v. 7 ; 
Ps. xviii. 25 ; Eccles. xi. 1, 2 ; Ps. xlvi. 1, and cxii. 1 ; Isa. Iviii. 12. 
He speaks of it as if very much of religion did consist in it, and 
almost all of it : ' Pure religion and undefiled before God and the 
Father is, to visit the fatherless and the afflicted,' James i. 27. 
He slights our most severe duties, those which are most irksome to 
the flesh, if this be wanting, Ps. Iviii. 7-10. He limits his own 
mercy to the merciful, 2 Sam. xxii. 25 ; James ii. 13. He is him- 
self a merciful high priest, Heb. v. He had compassion on the 
ignorant, and those that were out of the way, Heb. v. 2 ; on those 
that had nothing to eat. Mat. xv. 32 ; on those that were scattered 
as sheep without a shepherd. Mat. ix. 36. Therefore he cannot but 
value exceedingly, and love tenderly, those that are like him. That 
which lieth so near his heart, must needs be inquired after, as 
much, if not more, than anything else ; and there is scarce any- 
thing that speaks our respect of persons or things more than our 
inquiry after them. Joseph loved his father Jacob dearly, I suppose 
far above all his kindred, and therefore he first inquires after him : 
' Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake ? ' Gen. xliii. 27. 
David's heart was set on Absalom, therefore, when the messenger 
returned from the battle, he doth in the first place, and in a special 
manner, inquire after him : ' Is the young man Absalom safe ? ' 
2 Sam. xviii. Thus Christ, being so infinitely taken with charity, 
cannot but make a great inquiry after it at the great day. It is 
fruit that will then abound to the saints' account, Phil. iv. 17 ; and 
such seed, that they who sow it liberally shall reap it liberally, 
2 Cor. ix. 6. 


Three particulars about the text. 

I come now somewhat closer to the reason of the sentence : ' For 
I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat,' &c. Here we must under- 

Ohs. 1. That the omission of inward charity is included in 

316 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XVII. 

this of outward, and will be as dangerous, if not more, at the great 
day. The subject of it, the soul, is much more noble than the 
body ; therefore to suffer a soul to perish through our neglect of 
giving it spiritual alms is a greater sin than to suffer the outward 
man to perish for want of bodily alms. Again, the end of spiritual 
alms is higher than of bodily — the eternal salvation of the soul : 
1 Pet. i. 9, ' Keceiving the end of your faith, the eternal salvation 
of your souls.' Both sorts of charity are comprehended into these 
two verses : 

Visito, poto, cibo redimo, tego, colligo, condo ; 
Consule, castiga, solare, remitte, fer, ora. 

Obs. 2. That other works beside works of charity, and other 
omissions beside the omission of this duty, will be mentioned at 
that day, and men shall be judged according to them. Indeed all 
our works will be then accounted for. But you will say, What time 
wiU this take up ? I answer. It seems probable that the day 
of judgment may last longer than most imagine. The Holy 
Ghost tells us that ' God will bring every work into judgment, 
with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be 
evil,' Eccles. xii. 14. If every work, then more than acts of 
charity ; and if every work good or bad, open or secret, then the 
day of judgment must be a long day. The apostle speaks the same 
as to the matter of judgment with the wise man : ' We must all 
appear before the judgment seat of Christ,' 2 Cor. v. 10. 

There are two of our eminent English divines now with God, 
who have left their judgment herein upon record. One tells us : I 
humbly conceive that the day of judgment shall not be passed over in 
an instant, but shall be of long continuance. For if Christ should 
judge only as God, he could despatch it in an instant ; but his 
judging us men will be after the manner of men, that the creature 
may understand, admire, and approve what is done.i The other 
saith : It must take up some large quantity of time to manifest all 
the secret sins of men ; and therefore it may be made evident, both 
from Scripture and reason, that this day of Christ's kingly office, 
in judging the world, shall last happily longer than the day of 
Christ's private administration now in governing the world. 2 

Augustine tells us. Per quot dies hoc judicium extendatur incer- 
tum est, Scripturarum more diem poni solere pro tempore nemo 

^ Mr Strong in a Sermon on 2 Cor. v. 10, p. 26. 
^ Mr Shepherd's Sound Convert, p. 88. 
^ Augustine, De Civit. Dei, lib. xx. cap. 1. 

Chap. XVIII.] the sinner's last sentence. 317 

Ohs. 3. Christ doth not say, Ye took my meat from me, or 
wronged me of my raiment, or persecuted me, and cast me into 
prison ; but, ' I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat ; naked, and 
ye clothed me not ; in prison, and ye visited me not.' He doth 
not say, I was hungry, and naked, and sick, and instead of reliev- 
ing ye derided me, and by your taunts and jeers added affliction 
to the afflicted ; or, Ye despised and condemned me, as they, James 
ii. 6 ; but, ' I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat/ &c. It was 
a bare omission of a necessary duty, for which they are sentenced 
to hell. It is not robbing, but not relieving ; not oppressing them 
with violence, but not supplying their necessities, which Christ 
here condemneth them for. 

These words, considered thus relatively as the reason of Christ's 
severe sentence, will afford us this doctrine which I chiefly intend. 


That sins of omission are dangerous and damnable. 

Doct. That sins of omission are dangerous and damnable, or 
Christ will sentence men at the great day to eternal punishment of 
loss and sense for not feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. 
Observe how naturally the doctrine fioweth from the text : ' De- 
part, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his 
angels : for I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat ; thirsty, and 
ye gave me no drink,' &c. The sin mentioned is a bare omission, 
and the sentence clearly speaks the punishment ; hence I gather 
that sins of omission are damnable. Christ will sentence men to 
hell for them. Saul's not slaying Agag (an omission) lost him the 
kingdom, 1 Sam. xv. 20, 26. The Moabites and Ammonites were 
excluded the sanctuary of God (a high and special privilege) to 
the tenth generation for an omission, for not meeting Israel with 
bread and water in the wilderness, Deut. xxxiii. 4. 

But it is as clear these sins bring eternal as well as temporal 
pains and punishment. The slothful servant is sentenced, and 
sent into utter darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth, 
for a bare omission, for not improving his talent. Mat. xxv. 24-31. 
The servant did not waste his talent by riotousness, as the prodigal 
did — for he tells his lord, ver, 25, ' Lo, here is thine' — only omit to 
improve it through idleness. But he who wanted hands to work, 

318 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XVIII. 

had fetters provided for hands and feet ; and he who would not 
work by the light, is rewarded with utter darkness. 

Again, we have a clear and full proof of the doctrine in Mat. iii. 
10, ' And now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees : there- 
fore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down 
and cast into the fire.' In the verse we have three parts con- 
siderable : 

1. The sin, and that is a bare omission, the not bringing forth 
good fruit. Our Saviour speaks the same in Mat. vii. 19. He 
doth not say, Every tree that bringeth forth evil fruit is hewn 
down ; that bringeth forth drunkenness, or robbery, or uncleanness, 
or unsavoury communication, &c., is cast into the fire; but ' every 
tree that bringeth not forth good fruit.' The sin is only a neglect 
of positive holiness. 

2. The severity of the punishment ; ' is hewn down, and cast into 
the fire.' The hewing down is the fitting and preparing the sinner 
for the fire, as the tree cut down is prepared for burning. This 
is done by their provoking God to leave them to impenitency, 
under the ministry of the word. The word is compared to a 
sword, Eph. vi. 17 ; a two-edged sword, Eev. i. 16. And it will 
cut, and hack, and hew to purpose : Hosea vi. 5, ' God heweth them 
by his prophets, and slays them by the word of his mouth.' It cuts 
to the heart, Acts ii. 37, and v. 33, and hath dreadful effects on them: 
Isa. vi. 9, 10, ' And he said. Go, and tell this people. Hear ye in- 
deed, but understand not ; see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make 
the hearts of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut 
their eyes ; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, 
and understand with their hearts, and convert, and be healed.' 

And this hewing them down is also by death. The axe of 
death fells the tree for the fire of hell. The rotten tree, or the 
barren tree, is not good for fruit, therefore for the fire. 

He is hewn down,-and cast into the fire. Abscission is the way 
to perdition, to eternal burning. This is the catastrophe of the 
barren tree's tragedy. 

3. The certainty of it. Both Christ and the Baptist speak of 
the punishment in the present tense, not the future : ' Is hewn 
down, and cast into the fire ;' not, shall be hewn down, &c. The 
fruitless person shall as certainly be in hell as if he were there 
already ; therefore promises and threatenings, though future, are 
delivered to us as present. As, ' To us a Son is born,' Isa. ix. 6, 
and xxi. 9, ' Babylon is fallen.' 

4. The universality of the persons: 'Every tree that bringeth not 

Chap. XIX.] the sinner's last sentence. 319 

forth good fruit.' Every man, whatever his profession may be, or 
his hopes are, or his privileges have been, if he bring not forth 
good fruit, he is hewn down, and cast into the fire. The doctrine 
being thus proved by Scripture, I shall proceed to the explication 
of it in several particulars. 

(1.) I shall speak to the nature of them, and shew what sins of 
omission are. 

(2.) To the danger of them. 

(3.) To the reasons why they are so damnable. 


The nature of sins of omission in general. 

First, Concerning the first, i.e., the nature of them ; I shall 
speak to one more generally, and two more particularly. 

1. By the several distinctions of these sins. 

2. By their agreement with, and difl'erence from, sins of commis- 

(1.) More generally, a sin of omission is a neglect of some duty 
commanded us in the word of God. 

In every command there is a precept and a prohibition : a 
precept enjoining, and a prohibition forbidding ; a precept enjoin- 
ing some duty, and a prohibition forbidding the contrary. The 
neglect of doing what the precept enjoins is a sin of omission, and 
the doing what the precept forbids is a sin of commission. 

The truth is, in every commission there is an omission, as in 
every deadly disease somewhat of a fever ; for in every commission, 
as in drunkenness, or oppression, or uncleanness, there is a neglect 
or omission of the duty commanded, as temperance, charity, and 
chastity. But those we most properly call sins of omission, which 
are extrinsicate from sins of commission, as not praying, not read- 
ing the word, not believing, not feeding the hungry, &c. But to 
speak strictly, there is no sin but sins of omission ; for all sin con- 
sists in privation of due rectitude or deficiency, and coming short 
of the rule. Though the commands are generally delivered by 
way of negation, partly because of the proneness of men to com- 
mit those sins that are forbidden, and God would, by his negative 
command, curb and keep them in — thou slialt not, &c., thou shalt 
not, &c. ; partly because negative commands bind more strongly 
than the affirmative. The affirmative ohligant semper, but not 

320 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XIX. 

ad semper ; but the negative bind semper et ad semper, as the 
schoolmen speak. The affirmative bind us always — i.e., there is 
no time wherein it can be said that they are of no force — but not 
to all times. I am always bound to pray, but I am not bound to 
pray at all times. I am bound always to speak truth, but I am 
not bound to speak all truth at all times. But negative com- 
mands bind always, and at all times, as, 'Thou shalt not kill ;' ' Thou 
shalt not commit adultery.' These bind every moment of a man's 
life ; I mean, every moment of his life these sins are to be for- 
borne — they are at no time lawful. Though I say the commands 
are delivered negative for the most part — viz,, eight of them — yet 
we must understand that all the negative commands of God include 
their affirmative, as, ' Thou shalt have no other gods before me;' 
this includes, Thou shalt have me for thy God, thou shalt know me, 
love me, fear me, trust me, and worship me as thy God. And 
when God saith, ' Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven 
image,' &c., this includes, Thou shalt worship me according to my 
will revealed in my word. When God saith, ' Thou shalt not 
take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,' this includes, Thou 
shalt use reverently all my names, titles, attributes, ordinances, 
word, and works. When God saith, ' Thou shalt not kill,' this 
includes, Thou shalt use all lawful means for the preservation of 
thine own and thy neighbour's life. When God saith, ' Thou 
shalt not commit adultery,' this includes, Thou shalt, by all just 
ways, maintain thine own and thy neighbour's chastity, in thought, 
word, and deed. When God saith, ' Thou shalt not steal,' this 
includes. Thou shalt be true, faithful, and just in all thy contracts 
and dealings with others ; restore what is ill-gotten, be diligent in 
thy calling, and endeavour the furtherance of thy own and thy 
neighbour's estate by all just ways. When God saith, ' Thou 
shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour,' this includes. 
Thou shalt, to thy power, promote truth in thyself and others, 
maintain thine own and thy neighbour's good name. When God 
saith, ' Thou shalt not covet,' &c., this includes. Thou shalt be fully 
satisfied with thine own condition, and desire and delight in thy 
neighbour's prosperity. Thus the negative commands of God in- 
clude their affirmative ; so that, to depart from the evil forbidden 
is not to keep these laws, unless also w^e practise the duties com- 
manded. The neglect of any of them is a sin of omission. 

Chap, XX.] the sinner's last sentence. 321 


Three distinctions about sins of omission. 

(2.) I shall speak more particularly, and explain these sins — 

1. By these distinctions. 

2. By their agreement with, and difference from, sins of com- 

First, These sins of omission are to be distinguished in regard 
of substance, manner, or measure. 

1. When a duty is omitted in regard of the matter of it, as when 
men pray not, give not to the poor, hear not the word, &c., these 
omit the substance of the duty. Of such as those God complains : 
' There is none that looketh after God,' Rom. iii. 11. And again : 
' They will not hear the law of the Lord,' Isa. xxx. 9. ' And he 
that turneth away his ears from the cry of the poor, he also shall 
cry himself, but shall not be heard,' Prov. xxi. 13. These are 
most deeply guilty before God. They shew their utter contempt 
of him, and openly manifest it to others, when they omit to relieve 
the poor, to pray in their families, or to attend public praying and 
preaching ; hereby they are scandalous and offensive. They grieve 
the godly : ' Rivers of tears run down mine eyes, because the 
wicked forsake thy laws,' Ps. cxix. ; and they harden the wicked. 
When ungodly men see others neglect all religion, they are encour- 
aged in their atheism and irreligion, and presuming others are 
wise, and that themselves shall fare as well as others. As it was 
said of those, Ezek. xiii. 22, so it may be said of these, 'They 
strengthen the hands of the wicked.' Again, these are guilty in 
all respects. They who offend in the matter of a command by 
neglecting the duty itself in the substance thereof, offend in the 
manner and measure also ; but they who offend in the manner and 
measure, may not offend in the matter. 

2. When the omission is in regard of the manner of the duties' 
performance, as when men do pray, but they pray not uprightly, 
with the heart : Jer. xii. 2, ' Thou art nigh their mouths, but far 
from their reins.' Nor earnestly, with their whole heart, and 
with all their heart, and all the powers of their souls, as the precept 
is, Jer. xxix. 13, and that prayer to which the promise is annexed, 
James v. 16 ; but pray as if they prayed not, formally, and custom- 
arily, and carelessly, scarce hearing themselves ; and no wonder, 
then, if God hear them. not. They pray not reverently, with the 

VOL. V. X 

322 THE sinnek's last sentence. [Chap. XX. 

awe of God upon their spirits, but are rash in their words, and irre- 
verent in their hearts, Eccles. v. 1, 2. So when men give alms, 
but do not give cheerfully, with a free, willing, ready heart ; ' For 
God loves a cheerful giver,' 2 Cor. ix. 17. Nor seasonably, when 
it may do most good : Prov. iii. 28, ' Say not to thy neighbour. Go, 
and come again to-morrow ; when thou hast it by thee.' So when 
men hear the word, but hear not awfully, in the fear of God, as in 
the presence of God : Acts x. 33, ' We are all here present before 
God, to hear all things commanded thee of God ;' neither hear be- 
lievingly, giving their assent to what they hear, and applying it to 
their own souls : ' The word preached did not profit them, not 
being mixed with faith in them that heard it,' Heb. iv. 2. These, 
and suchlike, though they are not guilty of omission in regard of 
the matter of a duty, yet they are guilty of omission in regard of 
the manner of it. Though they do the thing commanded, yet they 
do it not as it is commanded, and so are guilty of the breach of a 
positive law and command. 

3. When the omission is in regard of the measure of the duty, 
as when a man gives alms, but not answerable to his estate ; though 
God hath filled liis belly with hidden treasures, and waters of a 
full cup are wrung out to him, and he is able to give pounds to 
poor indigent families, he puts them off with a few pence, or at 
most shillings, this is an omission in regard of the measure. God 
expects charitable contributions from men, answerable to his bounty 
to them : 1 Cor. xvi. 2, ' Upon the first day of the week let every 
one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that 
there be no gatherings when I come.' According to the measure of 
the divine mercy to us, such should be the measure of our charity 
to others. According to the seed thrown into the earth is the crop 
returned by the good ground. Therefore to make scanty returns, 
when we have large receipts, is a sin of omission ; so- when men 
pray, but not with that frequency which they might and ought. 
The command is, to pray continually, to pray without ceasing, to 
pray evermore. 

Which must include at least frequent, i.e., daily prayer, each 
morning and evening ; but some men pray, but it is only at certain 
seasons, now and then, by fits and starts. Some pray only upon 
the Lord's days, as if they had liberty all the working days to be 
atheists, and neglect the owning of the great God. Others pray 
only under some affliction ; and as patients to their physician, never 
go to God but when they cannot tell what to do without him. So 
the Jews, in their affliction, ' they will seek me early,' Hosea v. 15. 

Chap. XX.] the sinner's last sentence. 323 

' When he smote them, then they sought him ; but their heart was 
not right with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant,' 
Ps. Ixxviii. 34, 37. Unevenness of pulse argues a distempered 
body, so doth unevenness in duties a distempered soul. In their 
trouble they will pour out a prayer. When troubles are on them, 
they will make bold to trouble God, and call him up for their help. 
God expects frequency of application to him every day, and greater 
frequency of those that have more time, and fewer obstacles and 
impediments than others. Now the putting God off with applica- 
tions to him, and acknowledgments of him, once a week, instead of 
every day, and much under afHiction, instead of doing it in all 
conditions, and at all seasons ; or putting him off with morning 
prayer only, instead of morning and evening prayer, or with family 
prayer only, when we should also pray in our closets daily ; these 
are sins of omission, in regard of the measure of the duty. 

Secondly, These sins of omission are either partial or total. 

Total omissions are, when men wholly neglect the duties com- 
manded ; as when they altogether cast off praying, and hearing, and 
giving alms, and examining their own hearts : Ps. xiv. 3, 4, ' They 
are all gone aside ; there is none that doeth good : they call not 
upon God.' A man may read the word atheist in the foreheads of 
these men. They carry about them, wherever they go, the sign and 
mark of condemnation. They please themselves possibly that they 
do not abound in scandalous sins of commission, not considering 
that they may be guilty of self-murder, as well by starving or not 
feeding their souls, as by stabbing or poisoning their souls. 

2. Partial omissions are, when men do sometimes perform the 
duties commanded, but not with that constancy which they ought : 
Job XV. 4, ' Thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before 
God,' i.e., Thou imprisonest prayer, and dost not afford it the 
liberty it formerly had ; it was wont to appear every day openly, 
but now it is kept in, and shews itself but seldom. 

Thirdly, Sins of omission are distinguished into external or inter- 
nal omissions. 

1. External omissions are a neglect of the outside, as I may call 
it, of the command. 

2. Internal omissions are the neglect of the inside of the com- 
mand. We must know, that in every command there is an extra, 
and an inhxt, an outside and an inside ; somewhat that concerns the 
hands and conversation, somewhat that concerns the heart and 
affections. As, for example, in the fourth commandment, of sancti- 
fying the Sabbath, there God commands us to spend the whole time 

324 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap, XXI, 

of his day, except so much as the works of necessity and mercy call 
for, in religious exercises, and the duties of his own worship, as 
praying, reading, hearing, singing, &c. Now the bare performance 
of these duties is the outside of the command, and he who doth 
them, though customarily, obeys the command literally ; but the 
sanctifying the name of God in these duties, and the performance 
of them with reverence, humility, faith, love, joy, according to 
the several duties and several parts of them, is the inside of the 
command ; and he alone that performeth these duties in such a 
manner obeyeth the law spiritually. The neglect of the former is 
an external omission, for which God threatens families and nations: 
' Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that know thee not, and 
upon the families that call not upon thy name,' Jer. x, 25. They 
who will not deprecate the wrath of God, must feel it ; and they 
who will not entreat his favour, must go without it. So the not 
casting the incestuous person out of the church, was an external 
omission, 1 Cor. v. 2. The neglect of the latter, i.e., of performing 
Sabbath duties in the forementioned manner, is an internal omis- 
sion. Thus God complains of his people, that though they prayed, 
and possibly made long prayers, yet God counts their prayers as no 
prayers for their internal omissions : ' There is none that calleth upon 
thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee.' They put 
up, it may be, some lazy petitions, but they pour out no hearty desires; 
nay, God curseth men for doing his work negligently : Jer. xlviii. 
10, ' Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully.' 


Tlie agreement and difference hetioeen sins of omission and 
sins of commission. 

2. It will further explain these sins of omission, to consider the dif- 
ference between omissions and commissions, as also their agreement. 

(1.) They agree in the authority forbidding them. The same 
God forbids each sin ; he that saith, ' Thou shalt not kill,' the same 
saith, * Thou shalt serve me diligently,' Exod. xx. ; Jer. xlviii. 10 ; 
Mat. xxii. 37 ; ' With all thy heart,' Mat. vii. 13. 

(2.) They are both against the same particular command. In the 
same command wherein he forbids theft, he commands diligence in 
our callings, and the use of all lawful means for the increase of our 
own estates; in the same law wherein he forbids uncleanness, he com- 

Chap. XXL] the sinner's last sentence. 325 

mands care and endeavour to preserve our own and our neighbour's 

(3.) They are both a privation of that rectitude which is required 
by the law to the goodness of every action. For if malitia moralis 
non est quid positivum, if there be nothing positive in the formal 
nature of sin, according to the schoolmen — as there can be nothing 
positive in it, unless we will make God the author of it — but a want 
of conformity to the law, then every commission is an omission in 
this respect, and so they agree in their formal nature, 

(4.) They agree in their fruit and effect. Sins of commission ex- 
clude heaven, and condemn to hell : ' Know ye not that the 
unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven ? Be not 
deceived: neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor drunkards, nor 
covetous, shall inherit the kingdom of God,' 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10; Eph. 
V. 9 ; and so do sins of omission, as the text dotli abundantly prove. 

The difference between sins of omission and sins of commission 

1. In that sins of commission are against a negative law, and sins 
of omission are against an affirmative law. Oppression is against a 
negative law : ' Thou shalt not oppress thy neighbour ; thou shalt 
not oppress a stranger.' Neglect of charity is against an affirma- 
tive law : ' Give to him that asketh of thee ; and from him that 
would borrow, turn not thou away,' Mat. v. 42. 

2. They differ in this: every commission proceeds originally 
from a sin of omission, but sins of omission do not proceed origin- 
ally from sins of commission. All sin springeth from this, the 
departure of the heart from God, Jer. ii. 5 ; Heb. iii. 12, and the 
want of true love to, and fear of, his majesty, 1 John v. 3, John 
XV., which are sins of omission. Where there is no love to God, 
there is no care to forbear what he forbids : John xiv. 24-, * He 
that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings ;' and where there is 
no fear of God, all manoer of wickedness will abound, Ps. xxxvi. 
1 , 2. David concludes a wicked man's omission from his sins of 
commission ; the ' transgression of the wicked saith within my 
heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes,' i.e., His scan- 
dalous practices, and sins of commission, tell me that he is guilty 
of inward omissions, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. 
He who casteth off fear, will soon let the reins loose to all licen- 
tiousness : ' They who called not on God will devour Jacob, and 
make waste his dwelling-place,' Jer. x. 25 ; no sin comes amiss to 
them, Eom. iii.- 9-14. The monstrous, horrid, unnatural sins 
of the heathen had their beginning in sins of omission. When they 

326 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXI. 

knew God, i.e., by the light of nature, which plainly speaks a deity, 
they glorified him not as God ; i.e., did not love him, fear him, 
trust in him, honour him as God, neither were thankful, did not 
acknowledge their engagements to him, for their noble beings, and 
manifold mercies. These were sins of omission ; but what followeth 
upon them ? truly unnatural bestiality, unrighteousness, fornica- 
tion, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, pride, 
kc, Eom, i. 21, to the end. Men leave the fountain of living 
waters, and then hew themselves broken cisterns which will hold 
no water, Jer. ii. 13. 

The first and great sin of mankind proceeded from an omission. 
Adam's heart was turned from God by unbelief, I humbly conceive, 
before ever his hand touched, or tongue tasted, the forbidden fruit. 
But now sins of omission do not proceed originally from sins of 
commission: James i. 14, 15, 'But every man is tempted, when 
he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust 
hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin : and sin, when it is finished, 
bringeth forth death.' 

3. They differ in this, that sins of commission are founded in 
some act or habit ; sins of omission only in the soul, without acts 
or habits. 1 1. There is somewhat positive about sins of commis- 
sion, but nothing about sins of omission, and that is the reason. 
2. As drunkenness is an immoderate use of beer or wine, here 
is an act of the creature, and much positive about this sin, 
though nothing positive in the sin itself. So in theft, another sin 
of commission, there is somewhat positive about the taking away 
our neighbour's goods, and keeping them as our own ; but in sins 
of omission there is nothing positive ; as in not praying, not hear- 
ing, not believing, not giving to the poor, there is nothing positive, 
no acts, but a neglect of acts required. Sins of omission are wholly 
privative, and have nothing of positivity in them. 

4. They differ in this, that sins of commission are more scandal- 
ous in the eyes of men than sins of omission. I do not say sins of 
omission are always less heinous than sins of commission — I shall 
prove by and by they may be more heinous — but that they are less 
scandalous. Sins of commission, as drunkenness, uncleanness, theft, 
swearing, murder ; these make a great noise in the world, are taken 
notice of by all, and with the snail, leave a slime and filth behind 
them, wheresoever they are : but sins of omission, as not praying in 
our closets, not examining our own hearts, not relieving the poor 
and needy, not bringing up our children in the nurture and admoni- 

^ Barlow Exercit. 

Chap. XXIL] the sinner's last sentence. 327 

tion of the Lord, &c. ; these are more still and quiet, observed by 
few or none. 

5. They differ in this, that sins of omission are the aversion of 
the heart from God, and sins of commission are the conversion of 
the heart to the creature, or somewhat below God. Omission turns 
the heart from God ; hence we read of man's going far from God, 
Jer. ii. 5, and of their departing away from the living God, Heb. 
iii. 12 ; which is not meant in regard of local motion, for so none 
can depart from God, Ps. cxxxix. 2-5, but in regard of their 
inward carnal affections, and disobedient conversations : Jer. xvii. 
5, ' Whose heart departeth from the Lord.' Commissions are a 
turning to the creature: ' whose heart is after coveteousness.' * They 
imagine mischief in their hearts,' Ps. cxl. 2 ; Eccles. ix. 3, ' The 
heart of the sons of men is full of evil.' 

Having spoken to the nature of sins of omission in general, and 
more particularly by their several distinctions, and their agreement 
with, and difference from, sins of commission, I come to the second 
thing promised in the explication of the doctrine, and that is the 
dano^er of them. 


The danger of sins of omission, in the heinous nature of them, and 
their offensiveness to God. 

Secondly, The danger of sins of omission. Though men are ready 
to conceive that sins of omission, because they make no great cry 
in the world, are but infirmities, are venial sins, and are not much 
to be regarded, as having little of danger to the soul in them, yet 
the contrary will appear plainly, if we consider these particulars. 

1. The malignity and sinfulness of them speaks their danger. 
The more venom and poison there is in any cup or dish, the more 
dangerous it must needs be ; the more sinfulness there is in any 
sin, the more hazardous it is to the soul. Now I shall shew the 
sinfulness of omissions. 

(1.) They are most against the mind and will of God. Those 
sins are the greatest which most cross the will of the lawgiver, for 
sin is a transgression of the law or mind of God ; and every one 
knoweth that the mind of God is more in the precept or affirmative 
part of the law, than in the prohibition or negative part of it. The 
precept or performance of the duty commanded is the main thing ; 

"328 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXII. 

the prohibition is, as it were, accidental, in order to our obedience 
to the precept ;l therefore sins of omission being against the sub- 
stance and principal part of the command, and so most directly 
against that which is the special mind of the lawgiver, must needs 
be the greatest sins. It is more good to do good, than not to do evil. 
Omissions are not to be esteemed bare negations or privations, but 
as breaches of a positive law, wherein the mind of God is most 
discovered. Now how great a sin, and how dangerous is it to cross 
the mind of God ! surely it is bad thwarting him that can cast body 
and soul into hell : ' I say unto you,' saith Christ, ' fear him,' Mat. 
X. 28. 

(2.) Sins of omission are the ground of, and make way for, sins of 
commission.2 The want of love to God, and our not believing his 
word, which are sins of omission, are the ground of all abomina- 
tions. When a man once casteth off daily reading the word, and 
seeking God by prayer, or performs those duties coldly and care- 
lessly, he throws himself out of God's protection, and so becomes 
a lackey to the devil, and a tame slave to every lust to trample 
on and tyrannise over at pleasure : Ps. xiv. 3, 4, ' They are all 
gone aside, they are altogether filthy : there is none that doeth good, 
no, not one.' Negligentiam in orando semper aliqua notahilis 
transgressio sequitur, saith one : Always some notable sin foUoweth 
upon slothful ness in prayer. 

David's not watching his eyes and heart, and his not employing 
his time better at that hour of the day, brought forth drunkenness, 
murder, adultery, lying, &c. Some sins of omission are like great 
men, that never go without many followers : admit their persons, 
you must admit their long train which they bring with them. So 
a Gad, a whole troop of ugly lusts, will throng in upon our neglect 
of one duty. 

Not doing good, fits the heart for doing evil. The ground not 
sown with good corn doth naturally of its own accord bring forth 
evil weeds. Indeed, it is impossible for him that doth no good, not 
to do evil : ' He that doth not gather with Christ, scattereth ; and 
he that is not with me is against me,' Mat. xii. 30. He that fights 
not for his prince in a day of battle, is his enemy ; and that servant 
who helps not his master in harvest, hinders him. Not to save a 
life when we may, is to destroy and murder it. The negative 
Christian will quickly fall to be a positive atheist and heathen. If 
the heart be empty of good, and swept clean of grace, the unclean 

^ Mens legis est lex. 

* Vide ante, the second difference between sins of omission and commission. 

Chap. XXII.] the sinner's last sentence. 329 

spirit will quickly take up his lodging in it. Besides, God doth 
often judicially give up them to commit evil, who refuse to do 
good : ' Because they received not the truth in the love of it, (here 
is a sin of omission,) Grod gave them up to strong delusions, that 
they might believe a lie,' &c., 2 Thes. ii. 10, 11. Now how great 
and dangerous is this sin, that ushers in so many sins ! Alas ! one 
sin is too weighty for thy soul to bear ; how heavy then will that 
whole rabble and regiment of sins be, that one sin of omission may 
bring along with it ! If I live in sins of omission, sins of com- 
mission will follow both naturally and judicially. 

(3.) Sins of commission do exceedingly grieve the Spirit of Grod. 
Indeed every sin is offensive to the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of holiness, 
as directly contrary to its nature ; but the Spirit of God sets a par- 
ticular special brand and mark upon these sins as grievous to him : 
'Follow that which is good. Kejoice evermore. Pray without ceas- 
ing. In everything give thanks. Quench not the Spirit. Despise 
not prophesyings,' 1 Thes. v. 15-19. Observe, the duties are 
all positive (the neglect whereof is a sin of omission) to which he 
exhorts them, if they would not quench the Spirit. The Spirit is 
not only grieved, but also quenched, by sins of omission. Fire may 
be quenched by withdrawing fuel from it, as well as by throwing 
water on it. By scandalous sins of commission, we throw water on 
this heavenly flame to quench it ; but by neglecting to pray, and to 
attend on prophesying, and such sins of omission, we withdraw fuel 
from it, and thereby put it out. When the Israelites would not 
hear the voice of God, they are said to grieve his Holy Spirit, Ps. 
xcv. ; and when they believed not his word, the wonders that he 
wrought, they are said to vex his Holy Spirit, Isa. Ixiii. 10, with 
Num. xiv. 11, and xx. 12 : ' Then they rebelled, and vexed his Holy 
Spirit.' Not to obey God is to disobey him ; not to be loyal to him 
is to be rebellious ; now hereby they vexed his Holy Spirit. Now 
how great a sin, and how dangerous is it to grieve the Spirit of 
God ! the size or measure of sin is to be taken from the Majesty 
slighted, disobeyed, and offended by it. The Spirit is God, an 
infinite, boundless being, whom these sins of omission grieve and vex. 
Again, how dangerous is it to grieve and drive the Spirit from us ! 
It is the Spirit that must enable us to our duties, Kom. viii. 26 ; 
direct us in our walkings, Ps. cxliii. 10 ; comfort us in our 
sorrows, John. xiv. 16 ; Isa. Ixv. 1-3. It is the Spirit that is 
the Spirit of grace and holiness, Zech. xii. 10 ; Rom. i. 4, and must 
work them in our hearts, if ever we be gracious and holy, 1 Pet. 
i. 2. It is the Spirit must strengthen us with might in our inward 

330 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXII. 

man, to keep the commandments of God, Eph. iii. 16 ; Ezek. 
xxxvi. 27. It is the Spirit that is the earnest of our inheritance, 
the first-fruits of our eternal, blessed harvest, and that must seal us 
up unto the day of redemption, Eph. i. 13, 14 ; Rom. viii. ; Eph. 
iv. 30. How great a sin, and how dangerous therefore is it to grieve 
this Spirit, and by sins of omission to incense him to withdraw 
from us, without whom we are unable unto any good, and indeed 
exposed to all evil. 

2, The danger of these sins will appear by their oflfensiveness to 
God. Since our felicity depends on the favour of God, and our 
misery on his anger, (hell itself being but his wrath ever to come, 
1 Thes. i. 10,) those sins which are highly provoking to God 
must be very dangerous. If in his favour be life, Ps. xxx, 5, and 
his wrath be worse than death, Ps. xc. 11, I had need to be- 
ware how I provoke him to jealousy. Now the not believing God, 
which is a sin of omission, is called the provocation : Ps. xcv. 8, 9, 
' Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, as in the day of 
temptation in the wilderness : when your fathers temi3ted me, 
proved me, and saw my works.' This provocation was their not 
believing his word, for all the wonders he had wrought for them : 
' They said. Can God furnish a table in the wilderness H Behold he 
smote the rock, that waters gushed out ; can he give bread also ? 
can he provide flesh for his people ? Therefore the Lord heard this, 
and was wroth : so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger 
also came up against Israel : because they believed not in God, and 
trusted not in his salvation,' Ps. Ixxviii. 19-23. 

It will appear how provoking sins of omission are to God by these 
three particulars. 

(1.) By his frequent reprehensions and complaints of men for 
them. He blames men for not sacrificing, Mai. iii. 18 ; for not mourn- 
ing, 1 Cor. V. ; and sharply reproves for not receiving correction : 
Jer. ii. 30, ' In vain have I smitten your children ; they received 
no correction ;' for not grieving when smitten, Jer. v. 3; for not 
seeking God, Isa. ix. 13. Nay, observe what special notice he 
takes of, and how sadly he aggravates, their omissions : Jer. iii. 7, 
* I said after she had done all these things, {i.e., gone up upon every 
high mountain, and upon every green tree,) Turn thou unto me. 
But she turned not' Here he complains of Israel's omission 
in not turning to him ; but mark how he accents Judah's omission, 
who knew what Israel had done, and how God had put her away : 
ver. 8, ' Yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not,' the dreadful 
doom of Israel struck no awe into the heart of Judah. And ver. 

Chap. XXII.] the sinner's last sentence. 331 

10, ' And yet for all this (that Israel hath committed, and been 
severely punished for) her treacherous sister Judah hath not 
turned unto me with the whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.' 
Here was an omission internal, or in the manner of her conversa- 
tion ; it was not sincere, but with dissimulation. 

(2.) By his severe comminations and threatenings denounced 
against those that are guilty of omissions. He curseth those that 
deny him their help in a day of battle, and that come not forth to 
help the Lord against the mighty, Judges v. 23 ; he curseth those 
that are not diligent about his work, Jer. xlviii. 10. And believe 
it, his curse is effectual, not like the discharge of a piece with 
powder only, which doth no execution. Those whom he curseth 
are cursed indeed : his curse, like lightning, blasteth and wither- 
eth wherever it cometh. ' I cursed his habitation,' saith Eliphaz, 
not as a private malediction of his own spirit, but as a pious pre- 
diction of God's Spirit. Now mark what followeth upon God's 
cursing the wicked man's habitation. Job v. 2-4. His house is 
by this breath of God tumbling to the ground presently. ' His 
children (that should be the honour and support of it) are far 
from safety/ ver. 3 ; ' They are crushed in the gate, and there is none 
to deliver them,' ver. 4. ' Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, 
and taketh out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up his 
substance.' His estate, which is a second thing requisite to the 
outward glory of a family, that is seized on, and snatched from 
him. So God threateneth multitudes with his wrath (which is so 
terrible, so intolerable, that none can stand before it, Ps. cxlvii. 8 ; 
that mountains are moved, rocks are rent in pieces, the foundations 
of the earth tremble at it ; yea, that God's own people are ready 
to be distracted at it, Ps. Ixxxviii. 3-5, for a sin of omission, for 
not calling on his name, Jer. x. 25. 

God threateneth to cut a man off from his people (which 
includes either a cutting off from the society of God's people here 
and hereafter, as Gen. xvii. 14, or of being cut off out of the 
land of the living by the sword of the magistrate, Exod. xxx. 
33, or both, as some think) for a mere omission. ' But a man 
that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the 
passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from his people,' 
Num. ix. 13, 

(3.) It appears that sins of omission are highly provoking to God, 
by the execution of his judgments on them that are guilty of them. 
His works as well as his word speak his great indignation against 
these sins. Saul lost his kingdom for not killing Agag and the 

332 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap, XXII. 

best of the flock : ' Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, 
the Lord hath also rejected thee from being king,' saith Samuel to 
him, 1 Sam. xv. 23, 26, 28. Ahab omitted to kill Benhadad, and 
lost his life for it : 1 Kings xx. 42, ' Because thou hast let go a man 
out of thy hand, whom I appointed to utter destruction, thy life 
shall go for his life.' Eli was a good man, and as much in God's 
favour, but by not reproving his sons he so far incurred God's 
anger, that he lost his two wicked fondlings in a day, and the 
priesthood for ever, 1 Sam. iii. 12, 13, &c. Moses was God's 
special friend and favourite : ' And the Lord spake to Moses face to 
face, as a man speaketh to his friend,' Exod. xxxiii. 11. ' And the 
Lord said to Moses, Thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know 
thee by name.' Yet when this Moses is guilty of an omission, that 
he doth not believe God, nor sanctify his name in the eyes of the 
children of Israel, he is excluded the temporal Canaan, Num. 
XX. 12. Though Moses was taken up to the mount, to converse with 
God forty days together, when Aaron and all the people must stay 
below ; though Moses was honoured to see the commands written 
with God's own hand ; though Moses was taken into a rock, while 
God passed before him, that he might hear his name, 'the Lord, the 
Lord God gracious,' &c., proclaimed, and see his back parts ; though 
God was pleased to confer with Moses, as one friend with another ; 
yet when this Moses comes to be guilty of such an omission, he is 
denied liberty to enter into the land flowing with milk and honey. 
Nay, though this Moses begs so hard, ' I pray thee, let me go over 
and see the good land beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and 
Lebanon,' yet God was so provoked by his omission, that though 
he had heard him once and again for greater things on the behalf 
of others, Exod. xxxiii. 11-15 ; Num. xiv. 10, he would not 
hear him in this small request for himself : ' But his wrath was 
kindled, and he would not hear me : and said, Let it suffice thee, 
speak no more unto me of this matter,' Deut. iii. 25, 26. 

Nay, how angry was Christ with the man who had not a wedding 
garment at his supper ! how severe is his sentence ! how dreadful 
his doom ! ' And when the king came in to see his guests, he saw 
there a man which had not a wedding garment,' Mat. xxii. Though 
but one in a crowd, Christ spied him. 

1. Here is his transgression. We do not read that the man 
slighted the invitation, and denied to come, as they in ver. 5, nor 
that he entreated his servants spitefully, and slew them, as those, 
ver. 6 ; we do not read that the man came to the feast in a 
drunken fit, or reproached and abused either the master or guests, 



Chap. XXIII.] the sinner's last sentence. 333 

but only omitted to bring with him a wedding garment, which some 
say is charity, others obedience ; he was a professor, but without godly 
practices; but I suppose is meant Christ, and the graces of the 
Spirit, which are compared to a garment, Kom. xiii. ; Col. iii. ; Eph. 
iv. 23, 24, * And that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind ; 
and that ye put on the new man.' 

2. Here is the man's self-conviction : ver. 12, icfji/xcodi], he was 
muzzled ; the same word is used of muzzling the mouth of a beast, 
whereby it is unable to open it to eat, 1 Cor. ix. 9. His conscience 
was that which put a muzzle on his mouth, being convinced that 
he might and ought to have procured a garment before he had 
gone to the feast. They who have a form, and no power of godli- 
ness, who make a show without any substance of religion, will be 
speechless when Christ shall come to reckon with them. 

Here is his condemnation: ver. 13, 'Bind him hand and foot.' 
When malefactors are cast in law, either by their own confession, 
or the evidence of others, the jailer puts new fetters and shackles 
on them, to secure their persons against sentence and execution, 
lest they should make an escape. ' Bind him hand and foot :' make 
sure of him. The sinner shall have no power of resisting, or possi- 
bility of flying from divine severity. And e'/c/SaXere, ejicite, cast 
him forth. Cast him out as a vile, loathsome, abominable wretch, 
unfit for company, whom I hate to behold, into utter darkness, ek 
TO aKOTO'i TO i^wTepov, a prison, a dungeon, where there is no light, 
a condition most remote from joy and comfort ; such darkness as 
hath a blackness joined to it, Jude 13. There shall be weep- 
ing and gnashing of teeth ; weeping for the extremity of their own 
pain, and gnashing of teeth out of envy at others' happiness. 


The danger of sins of omissio7i, in their destructiveness toman, and 
our proneness to overlook them. 

3. The danger of sins of omission will appear by their destructive- 
ness to men. The more wrong and injury any sin doth us, the 
more danger is in it. Now what hath been already spoken doth 
abundantly evince this. If omissions are so great sins, that they 
most directly cross the mind of the law, and make way for all sins 
of commission, and exceedingly grieve the Spirit of God, they must 

334 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXIII. 

needs be dangerous and destructive to men. If God himself blame 
them so sharply, threaten them so severely, and punish them so 
grievously who are guilty of such sins, then these sins must be 
very injurious to us. But it will further appear if you consider 
that they cause, — 

1. The judgments of God on men, in regard of their bodies or 
external comforts. He punisheth many with extreme penury, for 
not being diligent in their particular callings. Their idleness, 
which is a sin of omission, clothes them with rags, Prov. xxiii. 21. 
Again, ' the idle soul shall suffer hunger,' Prov. xix. 15. How 
doth experience prove the truth of this. Many begin the world, as 
we say, with considerable estates, who, in a few years, for lack of 
care and industry in their employs, have w^asted all. The idle 
man may call the prodigal brother. Besides, these sins of omission 
are punished with a temporal destruction. The Lord having saved 
the people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed them that 
believed not, Jude 5. Israel was God's own people, his pecu- 
liar treasure, Exod. xix. 5 ; a people nigh unto him, Ps. cxlviii. 14 ; 
incomparable for this, Deut. iv. 7, and other privileges, Kom. ix. 
4. Yet when guilty of this omission, God would not spare them, 
but destroyed them. No privileges can exempt from punishment. 
God may forsake his tabernacle at Shiloh ; deliver his strength 
into captivity, and his glory into the enemies' hand, if they will 
not believe him, if they will not obey him, Ps. Ixxviii. 60, 61. 

2. A judicial tradition to spiritual judgments. Of all judgments, 
none in this world are so dreadful as those that are spiritual ; 
bodily judgments touch the flesh, but these the spirit. When God 
would speak and wreak his anger against a person or people to the 
utmost, he doth it in this way, by giving them up to their own 
wickedness. When he would strike Ephraim under the fifth rib, 
and kill him at a blow, it is by this judgment : ' Ephraim is joined 
to idols, let him alone,' Hosea iv. 17. He is given to idolatry, let 
him take his fill of it, and see what the end will be ; he is fond 
of lies and vanities, and delights in prostituting himself to their 
embraces, let him alone. Let none disturb him or recall him ; 
let no mercy, no misery, no means, no ministry ever hinder him in 
the prosecution of his lusts, or stop him in his course, much less 
be efi'ectual for his repentance and amendment. In temporal judg- 
ments, God acts the part of a father, to whip his child, that he 
may reclaim him from his errors, and be fit to inherit his estate. 
But in spiritual, God acts the part of a judge, to deliver the male- 
factor over to execution. In the former, he prunes the tree, that it 

Chap. XXIII.] the sinner's last sentence. 335 

may bring forth fruit, and so continue in his garden to his joy and 
delight ; but in the latter, he leaves the tree as unsound and barren, 
to be cut down for the fire. Now sins of omission cause Grod to 
deliver men up to these judgments. God calls upon Israel to hear 
and obey him, they will not : ' But my people would not hearken 
to my voice ; Israel would none of me.' What was the result of 
their refusal ? ' So I gave them up to their own hearts' lusts : and 
they walked in their own counsels/ Ps. Ixxxi. 11, 12. God doth 
not testify his anger for their contempt of him by sending plague, 
or flames, or wild beasts among them. He doth not say, Well, 
since they thus slight my authority, I will be avenged on them to 
purpose ; I will give them up to the sword, or famine, or racking 
diseases, or greedy devouring lions, which would have been sad 
and grievous ; but he executes on them a far more sad and griev- 
ous judgment, when he saith, ' So I gave them up to their own 
hearts' lusts : and they walked in their own counsels.' God's leav- 
ing one soul to one lust,^ is far worse than leaving him to all the 
lions in the world. Alas ! it will tear the soul worse than a lion can 
do the body, and rend it in pieces, when there is none to deliver 
it. God's giving them up to their own wills, that they walked in their 
own counsels, is in effect a giving them up to eternal wrath and woe. 
3. The destructiveness of sins of omission to the souls of men 
appears in that they render the condition of men desperate, and 
without remedy. Sins of commission wound the soul dangerously, 
but sins of omission make the state of the patient hopeless and des- 
perate. Sins of commission are directly against the law, and so 
bind the sinner over to its curse ; but sins of omission are directly 
against the gospel, and thereby hinder the patient's cure, Gal. iii. 
20 ; John iii. 36. He that hath broken the precepts of the law is 
liable to its punishment ; but yet this sinner may fly to the gos- 
pel, as his city of refuge, and lay hold on Christ, there tendered, for 
pardon and life. But by some sins of omission, he rendereth the 
gospel ineffectual for his good, and himself incapable of the good 
things promised in it. Faith and repentance are the two condi- 
tions upon which all the exceeding rich and precious promises de- 
pend ; so that by not believing, and not repenting, which are sins 
of omission, men deny themselves all the benefit and advantage of 
the gospel : ' He that believeth shall be saved ; he that believeth 
not shall be damned,' Mark xvi. 16. ' He upbraided the cities 
wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented 
not : Woe to thee, Chorazin! woe to thee, Bethsaida!' &c., Mat. xi. 
1 Qu. 'one's soul to one's lust' ? — Ed. 

336 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXIII. 

21-23. Sins of commission make the wound, and sins of omission 
keep off that plaster which alone can heal it. Sins of commission 
plunge us into a bottomless gulf of misery, and sins of omission 
stop the current of that mercy that alone can relieve and succour 
us. These sinners are like men in swoons, gasping for breath, and 
ready to expire, yet shut their mouths, and fasten their teeth to- 
gether, to keep out those cordials that alone can recall them to life. 

4. The danger of sins of omission will appear by our proneness 
to slight and neglect them. If sins of omission are of so deadly a 
nature, as most to contradict the will of God, and so highly pro- 
voking to him, and so mortally destructive to us, then the more we 
slight this great enemy, the more dangerous it is to us. A weak 
enemy, and an enemy that can do us little harm, may be slighted 
without great danger ; but when an enemy is so powerful, so 
deadly, so damnal)le, our contempt of him is a great advantage to 
him, and a great disadvantage to us ; for by this means he falls 
upon us disarmed and unprepared for him. Pompey slighted 
Caesar, when news first came to Rome of his marching into Italy 
with his army, and said, That if he did but stamp with his foot, he 
should therewith fetch soldiers enough out of all parts to subdue 
Csesar, and so made small preparation to resist him, which was 
his own and the commonwealth's destruction. Truly, thus men 
are apt to slight sins of omission, and thereby to undo themselves. 
As it is said of Joab, he spake kindly to Amasa, and made as if he 
would kiss him : ' But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was 
in Joab's hand : so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and 
shed out his bowels to the ground, that he died,' 2 Sam. xx. 9, 10. 
Thus sin of omission is familiar with us, and pretends rather love 
and kindness than any hurt to us ; for in all sin there is a deceit- 
fulness, Heb. iii. 13 ; and we taking no heed to the sword in its 
hand, to its malignant killing nature, but slighting it, as if it were 
venial, are destroyed by it. 

And there are three reasons why we are so apt to overlook sins 
of omission : 

1. Because conscience doth not so soon check us for them, as 
for sins of commission. If a man commit murder, or adultery, or 
theft, his conscience is ready to fly in his face, and thunder in his 
ears, as it did with Cain after the slaughter of his brother, that he 
cried out, ' My punishment is greater than I can bear ; ' and he went 
up and down trembling, as some think, all his days. Gen. iv. 13, 
14. But men may neglect praying, or reading, or charity, especi- 
ally in regard of the manner of doing them, and conscience will 

Chap. XXIII.] the sinner's last sentence. 337 

take little notice of it. Such omissions may pass with little or no 
regard. Cain in the offering he brought to God, neglected pro- 
bably to bring the best of the fruit of the ground, however to offer 
it with an upright believing heart ; but we read not that he took 
notice of these omissions, though he did of God's manifest disre- 
specting his offering, Gen. iv. 3-5. It is ordinary with some moral 
men, if they fall into ill company sometime by accident, and are 
made drunk, to be ashamed of it, and much troubled for it ; but 
these rnen can live in their families without prayer and Scripture, 
and neglect to teach their children and servants the ways of God ; 
and yet these omissions do not at all disturb them — they go up and 
down, and eat, and drink, and sleep, as merrily as if they obeyed the 
whole will of God. Job tells you of those that bid God depart 
from them, that desire not, nor endeavour to know him ; that cast 
off prayer to him, and all his service, as fruitless ; and yet these 
men, guilty of such great and gross omissions, could take the tim- 
brel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ, and spend 
their days in wealth and mirth. Job xxi. 12-15. These negative 
sins are still and silent, and make none or little noise in the ears of 
conscience ; but positive sins are more clamorous. We read of ' 
those that were guilty of bribery and oppression under their guise 
and mask of religion, and how they are stabbed and frighted ! ' A 
dreadful sound is in their ears, trouble and anguish make them 
afraid. They believe not that they shall come out of darkness,' Job 
XV. 21-24, compared with 34th and 35th verses. How many do we 
know in places where we live, who, if they should rob or wrong their 
neighbours, would hardly enjoy any peace or quietness in their 
spirits, who can live cheerfully and contentedly day after day, nay, 
year after year, while all this while they rob God of that love, and 
fear, and trust which they owe him in their hearts, and of that 
open homage and allegiance which they owe him in their houses. 

The reason hereof is, because sins of commission are most against 
natural light. In sins of omission there is no such actual disturb- 
ance, by which the free contemplation of the mind is hindered, as 
in sins of commission. Besides, foul acts of sin, as uncleanness and 
murder, &c., bring more shame, and cause more horror, than bare 
neglects of our duty. Conscience is not wont to take any great 
notice of external neglects, or of spiritual defects. 

2. We are the more prone to overlook, and take no notice of sins 
of omission ; as conscience is less troubled for them, so our Chris- 
tian friends are not so apt to warn and admonish us of them, as of 
sins of commission. If a professor fall into some gross sin of com- 

VOL. V. y 

338 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXIII. 

mission, as if he be overtaken with intemperance, or lying, or going 
beyond his neighbour, all the town or neighbourhood rings of it ; 
his Christian friends hear and take notice of it, and out of love to 
his, and faithfulness to their own souls, admonish him of it, and 
endeavour, with the spirit of meekness, to bring him to repentance 
for it. But this professor may neglect prayer in his closet, reading 
and meditating on the word of God, examining his own heart, 
nay, possibly prayer in his family, and the instruction of those 
committed to his charge in the principles of religion, and his 
friends be wholly ignorant hereof, and so be all their days wanting 
to acquaint him with his sin herein. When David had been guilty 
of several sins of commission in the matter of Uriah, Nathan hears 
of it, for it seems to be the town talk, in that it is said ' That he 
caused the enemies of God to blaspheme,' ver. 14. And I suppose 
God's narration of it to him was rather a command or commission, 
for the manner of his reprehension of David, than of certifying him 
of that he was ignorant before ; he goeth to him, and tells him 
thereof, and calls him to repentance for them, 2 Sam. xii. 1-10. 
But though David in all this time, likely nine months, for the child 
was born, ver. 14, had been guilty of many omissions, in not con- 
fessing his sin with sorrow and shame, in not begging pardon with 
faith and hope, and in several other particulars ; yet Nathan takes 
no notice thereof in his speech to him, neither makes any mention 
of them. 

3. We are the more prone to overlook sins of omission, because 
they are so near akin to intermissions, which are lawful and neces- 
sary. Affirmative precepts, as was said before, do not bind ad 
semper ; I am bound to pray in my closet and family every day, 
but I am not bound to pray in either all the day. God commands 
me to mind the nourishing and refreshing my body, and to follow 
my particular calling, and as occasion is to visit the fatherless and 
afflicted ; now because these intermissions or omissions for a time 
are allowed and commanded, men are apt to turn them, or to fall 
from them, into total omissions, and when they do so, to be little 
troubled for them. Because men may be excused from solemn re- 
ligious duties three parts or more of the week-day, therefore they 
will neglect them altogether, and are insensible of their neglect. 
Commissions being never lawful, for the negative commands bind 
ad semper, therefore if men be guilty of them, they take the more 
notice of them, and lay them more to heart ; but positive precepts 
being sometimes unseasonable, and binding but at some times — i.e., 
the duties of them are to be performed but at some time — when in- 

Chap. XXIV.] the sinner's last sentence. 339 

stead of our intermission there be an omission, we are ready to 
wink at it, and regard it at most but as an infirmity, which may 
require a pardon of course. If I may omit prayer and Scripture 
ten hours of the day, saith the subtle, wicked heart of man, why not 
eleven hours ? and if eleven hours, what great hurt if it be omitted 
twelve hours, i.e., the whole day, and the duty be not performed 
at all ? 


The reasons why shis of omission are da^nnable. 

I come now to the third thing to be spoken to in the explication of 
this doctrine, and that is to give the reasons why Christ will con- 
demn men at the great day to eternal torments for sins of omission. 

Thirdly, The rieasons of the doctrine why sins of omission are 

Reas. 1. The great and grand reason is, because they are sins. 
Every sin is damnable : ' The wages of sin (as sin) is death,' tem- 
poral, spiritual, and eternal, Rom. vi. 23. Therefore these omission?, 
being sins as well as commissions, must of necessity be damnable 
to our souls. As there is bitterness in every sprig or branch of 
wormwood, and saltness in every drop or spoonful of sea-water, 
so there is death and liell, and wrath and damnation, in every 
sin. The wicked papists distinguish sins into venial and mortal, 
but they got that distinction from the devil, not from God. They 
have their seven deadly sins, but the Holy Grhost tells us all 
sins are deadly, without any distinction. Gal. iii. 10. Though 
one sin may be greater and more heinous than another, yet 
every sin is mortal. A pistol is less than a musket, and a musket 
than a cannon, but they are all of them killing : Ezek. xviii., 
' The soul that sins shall die.' Under the word death is com- 
prehended all the misery of this and the other world. Sin being 
a contempt of the authority, a violation of the law, and a slight- 
ing the love, of an infinite God, deserves all that privation of good, 
and infliction of evil, which this sentence of Christ includes, ' Go, 
ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his 
angels.' God cannot inflict a greater punishment, nor can a finite 
limited creature bear greater torments, than sin, being of infinite 
demerit, requires and calls for. 

Now I have largely proved that omissions are sins as well as 
commissions ; and to speak properly and exactly, there is no sin 

340 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXIV, 

but the sin of omission. For even in commissions, their sinful- 
ness consisteth in their want of that goodness which the law re- 
quireth. Were there not a deficiency in them of somewhat which 
they ought to have, or a want of conformity to the law, there 
would be no sin in them. Yea, I have proved sins of omission in 
some respect greater sins, as more against the mind of the lawgiver, 
whose will consists rather in the affirmative than negative part of 
the command, and as the ground of sins of commission, and as 
more directly against the gospel than sins of commission. They 
are much mistaken who judge omissions pure privations, or mere 
negations, little other than nonentities ; for omissions are transgres- 
sions of an affirmative command, and violations of a positive pre- 
cept, and the greatest contradictions to the mind of the law, and 
therefore most justly liable to its curse. The apostle tells us what 
obedience the law requireth, and what the condition of such as fail 
therein is, Gral. iii. 10. 1. It requireth practical obedience ; not 
hearing, or knowing, or speaking only of what is written in the 
book of the law, but doing it — ' to do them.' It is doing that the 
law requireth : ' Do this and live,' &c. And it is doers that the law 
j-ustifieth : Eom. ii. 13, ' Not the hearers of the law, but the doers 
thereof shall be justified.' Now under this doing, sins of omission 
are expressly forbidden, and those duties, the neglect of which are 
sins of omission, are commanded. 

2. It requireth personal obedience : ' Every one.' It takes no 
notice of obedience by a proxy, or a surety, but requires it in our 
own persons. The law admits not a mediator. 

3. Perfect obedience : ' In everything written in the book of the 
law.' It will not admit of the least deviation, of any one step 
awry, but presently curseth and condemneth for them. If any 
thought, word, or deed be never so little too light, it will not grant 
the least grain of allowance, but damneth for them. 

4. It must be perpetual : ' That continueth not.' If in one day, 
one hour, one moment of his life he fail, he is undone. If a 
man could be obedient to the whole law all the time of his life, 
and should in his dying hour disobey it, the law would take no 
notice of all his former obedience, but send him to hell for his 
latter disobedience. For mark the state of those that yield not 
this perfect, personal, perpetual, practical obedience. Their con- 
dition is cursed : * Cursed is every one that continueth not in all 
things written in the book of the law to do them.' In the word 
cursed, all evil is included ; so that omissions, or the neglect of 
those duties which the law requireth, being sins, they render the 

Chap. XXIV.] the sinner's last sentence. 341 

creature liable to the curse, which is indeed all manner of misery 
here and hereafter. 

Death and hell are the end of every sin, though they are not the 
end of every sinner ; they are the reward of every evil work, 
though not the reward of every evil worker. Free grace in the 
blood of Christ doth sometimes interpose, and put in an exception 
to this general rule. The gospel accepted and pleaded is a bar to 
those rigorous proceedings of the law ; therefore, though this 
reason will justify Christ, and condemn the sinner in the judgment 
of his own conscience, especially this sinner being under a covenant 
of works, yet I shall give farther reasons from the sinner's non- 
interest in the privileges of the gospel. 

Reas. 2. Christ will condemn men at the last day to eternal 
torments for sins of omission, because they speak a man in a carnal, 
natural estate. The gospel, that is the only ark for a Christian to 
shelter his soul in against the flood of the law's curses, rcquireth a 
change of the nature and disposition as absolutely necessary to 
salvation. Christ, the great preacher and purchaser of the gospel, 
affirmeth solemnly, ' Verily, verily, I say unto thee. Except a man 
be born again, he shall never see the kingdom of God,' John iii. 3. 
This is indispensably requisite, not only as a condition without 
which heaven may not be had in regard of God's pleasure, but also 
as a disposition without which heaven or happiness cannot be en- 
joyed in regard of the subject ; for it is this that is meant by our 
being ' made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints 
in light,' Col. i. 12. Again, the Holy Ghost tells us, that ' with- 
out holiness no man shall see God,' Heb. xii. 14. This holiness, as 
a due qualification of the agent in relation to the beatifical vision 
or sight of God, the blessed-making object, is necessary by the 
gospel. How often are the unregenerate and unsanctified by the 
Spirit of God doomed to hell, and excluded heaven, John iii. 18 ; 
Eev. xix., ' Into it can in no wise enter anything that is defiled 
or unclean.' Again, 'Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die?' Ezek. 
xxxiii. 11 ; implying that death and destruction are the portion of 
the unconverted. 

Now these sins of omission are evidences of a man's want of 
regeneration. Nay, there is much more evil in a state of sin 
than in an act of sin, which state of sin consisteth most in sins of 
omission. For this was the great evil and misery of the Ephesians 
by nature, Eph. ii. 12, that ' they were without God,' i.e., were 
without any inward regard of him, or outward obedience to him. 
Sound conversion and saving repentance make clear work. As the 

342 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXIV. 

flood drowned all out of the ark, Noah's friends as well as others ; 
so repentance destroys all sins, even sins of omission as well as 
commission. It loves none, it allows of none. Kestraining grace 
will probably refuse the way of disobedience, but renewing grace 
will close the way of obedience. Those that are in a wicked and 
unregenerate state are characterised in Scripture from their sins 
of omission : ' The wicked through the pride of his heart will 
not seek after God ; God is not in all his thoughts,' Ps. x. 4. 
' The Lord hath a controversy with the land, because there is no 
mercy, nor truth, nor knowledge of God in the land,' Hosea iv. 1. 
Nay, the reign of sin, which ever speaks an unconverted and 
unregenerate estate, is as visible, if not more, in omissions than 
in commissions. As there is as high an act of authority, and 
sovereignty, and princely power in a negative voice, or denying 
such and such things to be done, as in a positive law, enjoining 
such and such things to^ be done ; so the omission of what is good, 
or refusing to do what God commands, may speak sin reigning in 
the soul, as well as doing, or commanding to be done, what God 
hath forbidden. It is indeed the judgment of many, that a prince's 
negative voice is a greater part and mark of his royalty than any 
affirmative command of his ; for a king may have power to com- 
mand that which he hath no power to forbid. As he may and 
should enjoin his subjects to worship the true God, according to 
his revealed will, but he hath no power to forbid them. Thus in 
sins of omission, for a man to live without prayer, without the 
love and fear of God, without delight in him, and communion with 
him, without care of, and watchfulness over, his own heart and 
life, may be a greater sign of the reign of sin, and thereby of an 
unregenerate state, than the commission of some gross actual trans- 

It is apparent that this man is under the power of lust, as a 
servant to it, Titus iii. 3 ; and under the dominion of the devil, 
'carried captive by him at his will,' 2 Tim. ii. 26 ; and an unre- 
generate, unsanctified person ; because he lives in disobedience to 
these positive laws of God. Whereas he that is born of God 
sinneth not, 1 John iii. 9, with his whole will ; there is not a free, 
voluntary, cheerful submission of his will to the quiet, undisturbed 
dominion of sin. And he that is born of God hath a tender re- 
gard to the whole law : ' I have esteemed thy precepts concerning 
all things to be right ; therefore I hate every false way,' Ps. cxix. 
128. He hath respect to afhrmative as well as negative precepts. 
He hath an equal uniform regard to all the law — to that part which 

Chap. XXV.] the sinner's last sentence. 343 

commands the doing good, as well as that part which forbids the 
doing evil. Therefore the man that lives in sins of omission is not 
born of God, and therefore incapable, by the gospel, of heaven, and 
so justly for this cause sentenced to hell. 


Further reasons why Christ at the great day loill condemn men for 

sins of omission. 

Reas. 3. Christ will condemn men at the great day for sins of 
omission, because those that live in such sins have no interest in 
himself. There is no way to escape hell but by the Lord Jesus 
Christ, 1 Thes. i. 10 ; ' Jesus that delivereth from the wrath to 
come.' There is no way to attain heaven but by Christ : ' I give to 
them eternal life, and they shall never perish,' John x. 28. 

As salvation is God's gift, Kom. vi. 23, so it is Christ's purchase : 
' There is no name under heaven whereby men may be saved, but 
by the name of Christ,' Acts iv. 12. So that all who are without 
Christ, not interested in him, must of necessity perish : ' He that 
hath the Son hath life ; he that hath not the Son hath not life,' 
1 John V, 12. Those that are without Christ are unpardoned; 
all their sins are imputed to them, Eph. iv. 32 ; Eom. iii. 25. And 
wherever sin is imputed, it condemneth, Ezek. xviii. 3. Those 
that are not interested in Christ are children of the devil, John 
viii. 44, and children of wrath, Eph. ii. 2, 3. And such children 
must be with their father the devil, and under wrath for ever. 

Now those that live in sins of omission have no interest in 
Christ. Our interest in Christ, and so in life, is by faith : ' That 
Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith,' Eph. iii. 17 ; Gal. ii. 
20, ' I live by faith in the Son of God.' It is faith that causeth 
the union between Christ and the soul, and joins them together ; 
by virtue of which union the Christian hath communion with 
Christ in his merits and righteousness, that his life, and death, 
and burial are the Christian's, are by God imputed to him, as if 
performed in his own person. Hence it is said that the Christian 
lives with Christ, is crucified with Christ, and buried with Christ, 
Rom. vi. 4. And the Christian is said to be the righteousness of 
God in him, 2 Cor. v. 21. By this union with Christ, which is the 
fruit of faith, the Christian is made a son of God, Gal. iii. 26, and 
so ' an heir of God, and joint-heir with Christ,' Rom. viii. 17. As 

344 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXV. 

a woman, by marriage being united and made one with a man, hath 
communion with him in his relations, honours, and estate ; so the 
Christian, by faith made one with Christ, hath communion with 
him in his relations : ' Go tell my brethren, I go to my Father, 
and your Father ; to ray God, and your God,' John xx. 17. In 
his estate Christ is heir of all things, Heb. i. 2, and the believer 
is a joint-heir with him, as is before proved. Christ was the first- 
born among many brethren, and so the inheritance did belong to 
him, Col. i. 18. Believers are a congregation of first-born, and so 
the right of the inheritance is theirs, Heb. xii. 23. But such as 
live in sins of omission are without faith, and therefore without 
Christ, and therefore must be without heaven for ever. Faith is a 
sanctifying as well as a justifying grace — Acts. xxvi. 18, ' And to 
give them an inheritance among them that are sanctified through 
faith in Christ ' — and therefore will not suffer the soul to live in 
any sin. 

Faith will not suffer a man to live in the want of love to God, 
in so great an omission ; for when faith certifieth the soul of God's 
love to it, this kindleth in the soul flames of love to God, 1 John 
iv. 19. When faith brings much fuel, the fire of love will be 
great. Faith will not suffer a man to live without repentance. 
The eye of faith, which beholds a Christ crucified for sin, affects 
the heart with sorrow for, and indignation against, those sins that 
crucified him : Zech. xii. 10, ' They shall see him whom they have 
pierced, and mourn.' Faith will not suffer a man to live without 
delight in Christ, and rejoicing in the God of all consolation. 
Faith seeth so much good certainly laid up in the covenant and 
promises for the soul, that it fills the soul with joy in the hope and 
expectation of the enjoyment of them : ' Whom having not seen, 
we love ; and in whom believing, though now we see him not, we 
rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory/ 1 Peter i. 7, 8. 
Faith will not suffer a man to live without waiting quietly on God. 
Faith will not limit the Holy One of Israel, but patiently stay 
God's time for the mercies the soul wanteth. Faith knoweth his 
bonds are good, his debts are in sure hands : ' The God that can- 
not lie hath promised,' Titus i. 2 ; and therefore is not hasty to call 
them in: ' He that believeth will not make haste,' Isa. xxviii. 16. 
Faith will not suffer a man to live without prayer. He that knows 
his own wants and necessities, how great and ui-gent they are, and 
also where he may quickly have liberal supplies, and bountiful 
relief, will not long be kept from that door. You may sooner and 
easier put off a beggar ready to starve, who must needs perish if 

Chap. XXV.] the sinner's last sentence. 345 

charity do not help him, and persuade him never to ask alms more, 
as keep a believer from his daily waiting at heaven's temple to ask 
spiritual alms. An unbeliever hath little hope to speed, and there- 
fore little heart to speak ; but a believer hath tasted God to be 
gracious, and received many a blessing upon his knees, and there- 
fore cannot but know that door again at which he hath received so 
good, so large doles. He knoweth that whatsoever he asketh, 
according to the will of God, in the name of Christ, shall be 
granted him, 1 John v. 14 ; John xiv, 14. Hereby he is encour- 
aged to beg and ask : ' I believed, therefore have I spoken,' saith 
David, Ps. cxvi. 10 : I believed, saith the soul, therefore have I 
wept, and prayed, and made supplication, and have prevailed. 

Faith will not suffer a man to live without Scripture. The 
word of God is the food of faith, and a man can as well live with- 
out bread, as faith without the word, 1 Peter ii. 2. It is Scrip- 
ture that breeds faith : ' Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by 
the word of God,' Eom. x. 17. And it is Scripture that feeds 
faith, and helps it to thrive : ' I hope in thy word,' Ps. cxix. 114. 
Hope is a degree of faith : so Ps. cxix., ' Establish thy word 
unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to trust.' Thus 
I might shew how inconsistent other sins of omission are with 
faith ; and therefore they who live in such sins must be unbelievers, 
and so obnoxious to the wrath of God, John iii. 36. But I shall 
conclude this head with this note, that faith is obediential, and 
therefore it is impossible for a believer to live in disobedience to 
God's positive laws. We read in Scripture of the obedience of 

Faith in the promises works obedience to the precepts. As it is 
impossible without faith to please God, Heb. xi., so it is impossible 
with faith not to desire to please him. The disobedient and un- 
believers are joined together. 

Abraham was called to a hard piece of service— to leave his 
country; this was hard, to forsake his native soil, Jer. ii. 10. Ntscio 
qua natale solum, dtc. ; therefore God commands us to pity and 
relieve strangers, Jer. xxii. 3, because they are comfortless, being 
out of their own country. To leave his kindred, this was harder; 
there is a tender affection between near relations. If he had gone 
into a strange country with his kindred, their company might have 
sweetened the bitterness of his banishment ; but he must leave his 
country as well as kindred behind him ; nay, he must leave these, 
and go into a place where he must not have a foot of land for him- 
self, Gen. xii. 1-4, yet Abraham obeys. But what was the weight 

346 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXV. 

which set the wheels in such quick ready motion ? truly his faith 
was the spring of his obedience : mark, Heb. xi. 8, ' By faith 
Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place, which he 
should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and went out, not 
knowing whither he went.' 

Reas. 4. Christ will at the great day condemn men to hell, who 
live in sins of omission, because such persons are hypocrites. Hell 
is prepared for hypocrites and unbelievers, saith Christ, Mat. xxiv. 
61. Others, as younger brethren, receive their part of wrath under 
them as the heirs. They are the great owners of hell, the chief 
landlords of the valley of death ; others do, as it were, hold from 
and under them. ' So the hypocrite in heart heaps up wrath.' The 
hypocrite in heart. Hypocrisy lies close in the heart, as the 
juggler's tools, out of sight. As in the cellar under the parliament 
there was nothing to be seen but what was lawful and allowable, 
coals and wood, fit provision for winter ; but when these were 
taken away, and the cellar was searched to the bottom, then the 
barrels of powder appeared, and the coals and wood were discovered 
to be fuel laid in for the devil's kitchen. So many persons who 
are unblamable, as we say, in their lives, walk without offence, are 
negatively holy, these seem to be good men, and approved ; but if 
we search them further, to the bottom, their hypocrisy appears, that 
all this was for vainglory, or some carnal interest ; they heap up 
wrath, and shall have that wrath which is so dreadful, that hell is 
called by that name, in great measure ; or he himself by his hypo- 
crisy is daily filling up that cup of wrath which he must drink of 
eternally. A hypocritical nation are the people of God's wrath, 
Isa. X. 5, 6, whom he appoints to ruin. They go about to mock 
God as they do men ; but they deceive themselves, God is not 
mocked. They do as those who use much art to hide the wrinkles 
and defects of nature, but God can see Jezebel under all her paint, 
and find out the wife of Jeroboam, notwithstanding her disguise, 
and will punish the dissembler with the lake of fire ; and then what 
shall become of the professor ? All that love and make a lie are 
doomed to that dungeon of darkness. Hypocrisy is the loudest lie 
that ever was told, because it is given to God himself. It may be 
said to every hypocrite, as Peter to Ananias, ' Thou hast lied, not to 
man, but to God,' Acts v. 4 ; for he tells God, and would make 
him believe, he forbears gross sins, and is negatively holy, because 
it is his will, when he neglects his positive precepts, wherein he 
hath discovered most of his will. Now such as live in omissions, 
■notwithstanding all their profession, and all their negative piety. 

Chap. XXV.] the sinner's last sentence, 347 

are but jugglers and dissemblers. They who are partial in their 
holiness are not sound at heart. Whoever obeys any command out 
of conscience, will endeavour obedience to every command, David 
is approved for his integrity, from the universality of his obedience, 
1 Kings xiv. 8. So Zacharias and Elisabeth are declared right- 
eous before God, i.e., upright, ' walking in all the statutes and com- 
mandments of the Lord blameless,' Luke i, 6, Uprightness makes 
no baulks in the field of divine precepts. Were not this man who 
lives in omissions unsound, he would fear omissions as much as 
commissions, for sincerity hates every evil way, Ps. cxix. 104, and 
he would be careful to obey affirmative as well as negative com- 
mands ; for uprightness, as Moses, hath the whole law in its hands, 
nay, written in its heart, and expounded in its life. But this man, 
who, like a globous body, toucheth the law of God in some one 
point, but meets not in the rest, sheweth plainly that he is hollow 
within, as your globes are. For, observe it, if this man were sin- 
cere, and acted upon conscientious grounds, then those pious rea- 
sons upon which he forbears sins of commission, would incline him 
to take heed of sins of omission. If he forbears commissions, 
because they are against the will of God, which should be the 
main ground of all obedience, Ps. cxix. 5, 6, then he would also 
take heed of omissions, because they are as much against the will 
of God as commissions. If the authority of God were that which 
swayed him in his negative, the same would move him to positive 
holiness, for there is the same authority in negative and in positive 
precepts, Exod. xx. The same God that saith, ' Thou shalt not 
steal,' saith, ' Thou shalt be diligent to know the state of thy flock; 
and thou shalt give to him that asketh.' 

Again, if this man abstains from commissions, because they dis- 
honour God, he would also take heed of omissions, for they dis- 
honour God also. Every breach of the law is a dishonour to the 
lawgiver, Rom, ii. 23, 24, Further, if he forbear commissions, 
because he is redeemed from them with the blood of Christ, 1 Pet. 
i. 17-19, he would take heed of omissions ; for Christ did not only 
redeem from sin, but also unto service : Tit, ii, 14, ' He gave him- 
self for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify 
unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works,' Once more, 
if he did forbear commissions, because they are injurious to his own 
soul, and deprive him of heaven and happiness, then he would take 
heed of omissions, for they are as destructive to his soul, and will 
as certainly hinder it of heaven, as the text assureth us. So that 
upon whatsoever conscientious grounds he forbears commissions, he 

348 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXVI. 

would upon the same grounds take heed of omissions, which he not 
doing, proclaims himself a hypocrite, and as such, is most justly 
condemned to die eternally. He that forbears sin from a principle 
of grace, will he as careful to do good as to abstain from evil. Re- 
straining grace matters not much the omission of good, but renew- 
ing grace or holiness in truth cannot allow it. Such a man chooseth 
the things that please God, Isa. Ivi. 4. 


Use 1. Of the doctrine hy way of information, How dreadful will 
he the condition of those that live in sins of commission. 

Having explained the doctrine, by describing the nature and 
danger of sins of omission, as also the reasons why Christ will sen- 
tence those that are guilty of them to an eternal banishment from 
his presence, and to eternal torments with the devil and his angels, 
I now proceed to the application of the point. This doctrine may 
be useful, 1. By way of information ; 2. By way of examination ; 
3. By way of exhortation. 

1. The doctrine is useful by way of information. 

Use 1. If Christ will condemn men for sins of omission at the 
great day, what will become of them that are guilty of gross crimes, 
and who live in sins of commission ? These must be doubly pun- 
ished, for they are guilty of omissions and commissions too. If 
they who feed not the hungry, and clothe not the naked, shall be 
damned, surely they who take meat out of the mouth of the poor, 
and rob the needy of their raiment by fraud or force, shall be 
doubly damned. If they be sent to hell who visit not the sick and 
imprisoned, how doleful will their judgment be who wound the 
servants of Christ, and cast them into prison ! If the mere civil 
man be excluded the highest heaven, surely the scandalous sinner 
shall be cast into the lowest hell : Jer. xxii. 13, ' Woe to him 
that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by 

If the tree that is void of good fruit be hewn down, and cast into 
the fire, Mat. iii. 10, what will become of the tree that aboundeth 
in evil fruit ? If barrenness of good expose to divine vengeance, 
what will f ruitfulness in evil do ? If the fig tree that had leaves 
and no figs was cursed, and withered away, what curse shall befall 
those trees that bear gall and wormwood ? ' Whose grapes are the 


Chap. XXVI.] the sinner's last sentence. 349 

grapes of Sodom, and whose clusters are the clusters of Gomorrah.' 
If men shall perish who call not on the name of God, what shall 
become of them who blaspheme the name of God ? If they who 
hear not the word of God shall be destroyed, what destruction shall 
befall them who deride it, and mock at it ? If those whose feet 
run not the ways of God's commandments, who lift not up their 
eyes to heaven and pray, whose hands are folded in their bosoms, and 
whose tongues talk not of judgment, shall be cast into the lake that 
burnetii with fire and brimstone for ever ; where shall they be cast 
whose feet are swift to shed blood, whose eyes are full of adultery, 
and cannot cease from sin ; whose hands are full of bribery and 
extortion, and whose tongues are full of cursing and lying, and 
whose throat is an open sepulchre. 

What tongue can tell the misery that will befall such sinners at 
the great day ? If not relieving the poor, and not supplying the 
needy, and not visiting the fatherless and widow, the sick and 
imprisoned, cause such a severe sentence to be denounced against 
them as, ' Go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil 
and his angels for ever,' what sentence shall be denounced against 
those that grind the faces of the poor, that make music of their 
moans, Isa. iii. 15, that sell them for a pair of shoes, Amos ii. 6, 
who oppress the poor and crush the needy, Amos iv. 1, and who 
slay the widow and fatherless ? 

' Go to, you rich men, weep and howl for the miseries that shall 
come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments 
moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered ; and the rust of 
them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it 
were fire. Behold, the hire of the labourers which have reaped 
down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth : and 
the cries of them that have reaped are entered into the ears of the 
Lord of sabaoth. Ye have condemned and killed the just ; and 
he doth not resist you,' James v. 1-6. Those sins that are crying, 
and do more especially require vengeance at the hands of God, and 
provoked divine justice to take notice of them, are sins of commis- 
sion. As murder : Gen. iv. 10, ' The voice of thy brother's blood 
crieth to me from the ground.' Sodomy, ' The cry of Sodom and 
Gomorrah is great, because their sin is grievous,' Gen. xviii. 20. 
Oppression of God's servants, Exod. iii. 7, or of any widows or 
fatherless : ' If thou afflict the widow and the fatherless, and they 
cry unto me, I will surely hear their cry, for I am gracious,' Exod. 
xxii. 23 ; or of any poor and needy, as in the text of James v. 4, 
* The cry of the labourers are entered into the ears of the Lord.' 

350 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXVI. 

1. These sinners who are guilty of these gross commivssions are 
guilty of omissions also ; they have the weight of both sorts of sins 
to press them to hell. A man may be guilty of omissions, as not 
to believe, not to pray, not to examine his own soul, &c., and yet 
be free from gross commissions ; he may be no liar, no thief, no 
oppressor, no murderer, no adulterer, at least in regard of the out- 
ward acts, which I intend here ; but a man cannot live in gross 
commissions, but he must also live in omissions. The oppressor 
must omit to relieve the poor ; he that destroys life must neglect 
to save it. Besides, they who live in such commissions must omit 
faith and repentance, which are inconsistent with them ; they must 
neglect daily to call on God, for prayer would make them leave 
such sinning; but indeed such sinning makes them leave off, 
though possibly they did sometimes begin to seek God in a formal 
way, praying. Those in the 5th of James, who oppressed the 
labourers, who condemned and killed the just, gross commissions, 
had their riches corrupted, and garments moth-eaten, i.e., were 
guilty of omissions, would rather their wealth should waste with 
rust, and their raiments with moths, than bestow any on the poor. 
Those in Hosea iv. 1, 2, who were guilty of swearing, and lying, 
and killing, and stealing, and adultery, omitted truth, and mercy, 
and the knowledge of God. 

2. Sins of commission, I mean those gross crimes, do more 
openly dare God than omissions do. By omissions we deny him, 
but by such commissions we dare him, and defy him. Such sin- 
ners, as it were, bid God do his worst, they fear him not. They 
do, at least implicitly, mock at his threatenings, and deride his re- 
proofs, and slight his judgments that are executed on their fellows 
before their own faces. They speak in the language of the Jews, 
Isa. V. 19, ' That say. Let him make speed, and hasten his work, 
that we may see it, and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel 
draw nigh and come, that we may know it.' These jeer at God's 
judgments, and mock at his menaces ; they credit not his commina- 
tions, nor expect their execution. They look on the words of their 
prophets as mere wind, and the matter of their prophecy as a mere 
mockery. 'Let him make speed/ &c., 'and the counsel of the 
Holy One of Israel draw nigh ;' i.e., you have much and long told 
us, that your Holy One, forsooth, who cannot abide sin, ' and who 
is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity,' will execute his judgments 
on us for our sins, and that this is by counsel established, and can- 
not be reversed. We would willingly see these judgments so much 
talked of, and do wish that they may hasten, and not linger as they 

Chap. XXVI.] the sinneli's last sentence. 351 

do ; for we neither believe you nor fear them. But who were these 
that spake at this desperate rate ? Truly those that lived in com- 
missions, ' who brought forth wild grapes,' Isa. v. 4 ; who brought 
forth filthy, naughty, abominable fruit ; instead of grapes, the vine- 
yard brought forth thorns and briers. These were they who dared 
the divine justice, as if they had been incarnate devils. 

3. Gross sins of commission are more directly contrary to the 
very light of nature. Indeed it is against the light of nature not 
to feed the hungry, and clothe the naked, and help the distressed ; 
but it is much more against the light of nature to oppress the poor 
and needy, and slay the widow and fatherless. Because natural 
light is much more disturbed by gross commissions than by bare 
neglects, it appears that those are more against a natural con- 
science than these. We read that the natural light of the heathen 
did discover the sinfulness of their commissions, and condemn them 
for them, Eom. i. 2, 32 ; and that the barbarians, by the light of 
nature, could discover the evil of murder, and how vengeance, like 
a blood-hound, did pursue the violent man, to take and slay him, 
Acts xxviii. 4. Now that which so directly opposeth, not only 
Scripture, but nature, and that which a man will do, as it were, 
violence to his own conscience that he may commit, must unques- 
tionably be dreadful, and out of measure sinful. As the apostle 
saith, ' To him that knoweth to do good, and doth it not, to him it 
is sin,' James iv. 17 ; so say I to him that knoweth he should 
not do these evils, and doth them, to him they are sins, i.e., a 
wickedness with a witness. They have more of enmity against 
Grod, and contempt of his mind, and have sadder marks of divine 
vengeance. But what sins are more against knowledge, than those 
that are not only committed in spite of Scripture, but also of nature 
itself. No vinegar so sharp as that which is made of the sharpest 
wine. ' He that knoweth his master's will, and doth it not, shall 
be beaten with many stripes.' He that knoweth his master's will 
is that he should forbear such sins, and yet commits them, shall 
be beaten with many stripes, Luke xii. 

4. Gross sins of commission are more scandalous to men, and 
bring more dishonour to God. They give greater offence to men ; 
good men are grieved by them. Lot's righteous soul was vexed 
with the unclean conversation of the Sodomites, 2 Pet. ii. 7. David 
tells us rivers of tears ran down his eyes, because the wicked 
broke God's law, Ps. cxix. 136. Jeremiah wept in secret for the 
sins of Israel, Jer. xiii. 17. Wicked men's sins cause godly men's 
sorrow. They need not disturb the righteous by their persecutions 

352 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXVII. 

of them ; they do it sufficiently by their transgressions against God 
As these gross sins grieve the good, so they harden the bad ; others 
are encouraged to dress themselves by such foul and false glasses, 
Jer. xxiii. 14. Vile sinners presume their states good though 
their lives be bad, because they are no worse than such and such, 
(possibly who are learned, and rich, and therefore counted wise 
men,) and therefore, whatever befalls them, they shall fare as well 
as others. Alas ! how many walk more by patterns than by com- 
mands, and so are led by following others to hell ! And how deep 
will they be damned who draw others after them to sin and hell ! 
' They who forsake the law, praise the wicked,' Pro v. xxviii. 4, i.e., 
commend them for their wickedness, as they who keep the law con- 
demn them. Gross commissions dishonour God most ; they cause 
others to speak ill of God, and disgracefully of religion. Nathan 
tells David, that by his uncleanness and murder he had caused 
the enemies of God to blaspheme, 2 Sam. xii. If a child of God 
commit one such noisome act, the wicked quickly take the scent, 
and a cry is raised among the whole pack, who with open mouth 
upon this pursue and blaspheme God .and godliness. By these par- 
ticulars it appears that gross commissions are sins of the greatest 
size, and therefore must have the greatest severity. If they are used 
as bastards who met not Israel with bread and water, how will God use 
them at last who meet his people with bonds and fetters, with fire 
and fagot ? If Christ pronounce such a dreadful sentence in the text 
against the (comparative) green tree, what shall become of the dry ? 


Negative godliness is not enough. — Christ's impartiality in 

Use 2. In the second place, if Christ will condemn men at the great 
day for sins of omission, it may inform us that a negative religion, 
or negative Christianity, is not enough. Many please themselves 
that they are gracious, because they are not openly vicious ; and 
that they are pious, because they are not scandalously profane ; but 
they mistake and deceive themselves. It is good not to do evil, but 
it is evil not to do good. Negative Christians are, as it was said of 
Galba, potiits extra vitia quam cum virtute, rather seemingly free 
from vice, than really filled with virtue. Or at best, as was re- 

Chap. XXVII.] the sinner's last sentence. 353 

ported of Cato, that he was homo virtuti simillimus, a man that 
looked like a virtuous person. 

How many civil men presume their persons holy, because they 
are not so filthy as those who rake in ditches and kennels, and de- 
file themselves daily with scandalous abominations ; and they pre- 
sume their states to be good, and themselves in the way to heaven, 
because they are no drunkards, no swearers, no adulterers, no thieves, 
no murderers ; when for all this they shall be cast to hell, because 
they are no believers, no penitents, no obedient subjects to the Kinj:; 
of saints, ' Because they know not God, and obey not the gospel,' 
2 Thes. i. 7, 8. Such men are farther distant from good than from 
evil. Ceasing from evil is not enough, it is but one step heavenward ; 
doing of good must accompany it, or it will be of small moment. 

I confess, when I behold a civil man, who is harmless in his 
carriage, unblameable, in regard of scandal, in his public conversa- 
tion, and courteous in his behaviour to all, I cannot but respect 
him, and am ready to wish (as Athanasius, that all the world of 
atheists and profane wretches would turn hypocrites) that all 
scandalous sinners would turn civilians, and come so far towards 
holiness; but yet I must say that this is scarce half way to 
Christianity. He is not half a saint, who is but a negative saint. 
The forbearance of gross corruptions is the easiest and least part of 
religion, and therefore will not speak any man in a state of salvation. 
The tree that is barren, and without good fruit, is for the fire, as 
well as the tree that brings forth evil fruit. 

For men to think to excuse themselves that they do no hurt, 
wrong neither man, woman, or child, and are not, as the pharisee 
said, as the publicans, who generally were oppressors, is but a vain, 
foolish thing. The idle servant might have said. Lord, I did no 
harm with my talent ; I did not lay it out in rioting and drunken- 
ness, or any way to thy dishonour ; I only hid it, and did not im- 
prove it, Mat. XXV., yet this was enough to condemn him. Can we 
call ground good ground for bearing no weeds, if it never bring 
forth good corn ? Or do we count that servant a good servant, who 
doth not wrong his master in his estate, by purloining or wasting 
it, if he live idle all day, and neglect the business his master 
appoints him ? Believe it, reader, thou mayest not be morally evil 
to the abomination of men, and yet not spiritually good to the 
acceptation of God. He keeps no law of God, who minds only the 
negative part of it. A life free from enormity is too often accom- 
panied with a heart full of iniquity. And that this negative 
holiness is insufficient, will appear if we consider, — 

VOL. V. z 


1. That the Holy Ghost characteriseth a godly man, both 
negatively and positively. The Scripture tells us that a true 
Christian minds both parts of the law, its commanding part as well 
as its forbidding part. When the Holy Ghost speaks of David's 
goodness, he tells us that he served the wills of God in his genera- 
tion, not only his forbidding will, but also his commanding will, 
Acts xiii. 36- When Job is commended as a godly man, he is said 
to eschew evil, there was his negative holiness ; and to fear God, 
there was his positive holiness. Job i. 1,8. The psalmist describes 
the happy man by his holiness both ways. 

(1.) By way of negation : ' Blessed is the man that walketh not in 
the counsel of the ungodly, {i.e., that committeth not wickedness, 
which is the consultation of the ungodly,) nor standeth in the way 
of sinners, (t.e., that goeth not on with pleasure in any course of 
profaneness,) nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful,' {i.e., that 
hardeneth not his heart against advice and admonition, &c.) 

(2.) By way of position : ' But his delight is in the law of the Lord ; 
and in that law doth he meditate day and night.' His affection to 
the law, and his meditation in it, are both positive ; and without 
these the man could neither be holy nor happy. He might have 
been able to say, I have not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, 
nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful, 
and yet been a wicked and cursed man ; for negatives neither speak 
nor make any man holy. It is a positive quality that gives being, 
perfection, and denomination to piety ; therefore Jehu is branded 
for a wicked man, notwithstanding all his zeal against Baal, because 
he took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel, 1 
Kings X. 29-31. Philosophers tell us that motions are imperfect, 
and but in fieri, whilst they are passing from the terminus a quo, 
and are not perfect, or in facto esse, till the terminus ad quern be 
attained. Whilst a man is departing from evil, he is but an im- 
perfect Christian; when he comes to the doing of good, which is the 
end of the former, then he is a Christian indeed. 

2. The law, which is the rule of religion, is affirmative as well as 
negative. Every man is so far perfect in his calling, or in any art, 
as he agrees with his rule ; and every man is so far religious, and 
no farther, as he agreeth with the will of God revealed in his word, 
which is the rule of religion : Gal. vi. 16, 'As many as walk accord- 
ing to this rule, peace be to them,' &c. Now this rule hath posi- 
tive as well as negative commands ; nay, all its negative commands 
have, as hath been shewn before, somewhat positive in them, and 
therefore negative holiness cannot be sufficient. He that makes 

Chap, XXVII.] the sinner's last sentence. 355 

not conscience of every part of God's will, makes conscience of no 
part of Grod's will. He that denieth ungodliness and worldly lusts, 
because the law, his rule, forbids them, will also live righteously, 
soberly, and godly, because the same rule commands them, Titus 
ii. 11, 12, Indeed, all true eschewing of evil doth proceed out of 
love to good, so that he who doth not delight in good, and do it, 
cannot eschew evil out of any good principle. Observe the rule, 
Eph, iv, 23, 24, ' And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And 
that ye put on the new man, which after Grod is created in righteous- 
ness and true holiness ;' Isa. i. 15. But men love to be complete in 
everything, but that which deserves exactness. 

3. A heathen may be negatively religious. A Cato, a Seneca, 
an Aristides. may be free from intemperance, bribery, injustice, un- 
cleanness, and all gross sins ; and can we think that religion 
sufficient for us which heathens may attain to ? Is there nothing 
revealed by the sunlight of Scripture for us to do, which they were 
unable to see by the dim rush candle of nature ? The Holy Ghost 
acquaints us with the condition of the heathen : Eph. ii, 12, ' That 
they were without God, without Christ, strangers to the covenant 
of promise, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and with- 
out hope in the world,' In which words we have their dreadful 
estate, how far they are from any Saviour, and so from any hope of 
salvation ; which would not be, if their negative holiness were 
suflScient to make them happy. 

Use 3. If Christ will condemn men for sins of omission at the 
great day, then it may inform us of the justice and righteousness of 
Christ, that ' he loveth righteousness, and hateth iniquity,' Ps. xlv. ; 
and again, ' that he shall judge the world in righteousness,' Acts 
xvii. 31. Herein it appears, — 

1 . Because he spares no sins. He condemneth those that live in 
omissions, little light sins in the imaginations of men, as well as 
those that live in commissions. He sends to hell those that do not 
relieve, as well as those that rob his people. He poureth out his 
wrath upon them that do not visit bis members in prison, as well 
as those that cast them into prison. Those sins that are peccadil- 
loes in the world's eye, have felt the heavy weight of his hand. The 
man that gathered a few sticks was destroyed with stones. Uzzah 
touched the ark out of kindness, but God smote him with death 
for it. Moses, for omitting the circumcision of his cliild, was 
like to have lost his life. Aaron's two sons, Nadab and Abihu, 
neglected, as is supposed by expositors, to fetch fire from the altar 
to burn their sacrifices, and were destroyed with fire from heaven, 

356 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXVII. 

Lev. X. The impartiality of Christ is evident herein, that at the 
great day he will bid the civil as well as the scandalous sinner de- 
part from him into everlasting fire. 

2. Because he spareth no sinners. He saith to all those on his 
left hand, whether rich or poor, great or small, high or low, if 
guilty of these omissions, ' Depart from me into everlasting fire.' He 
is no respecter of persons ; he spareth none for their greatness and 
strength. His hand reacheth the tallest cedars, and plucks up the 
strongest oaks. Neither power nor majesty can free or exempt 
persons from his severity. If princes and potentates will omit their 
duty, they must expect to feel his fury, Eev. vi. 15. Pharaoh, 
Jeroboam, Ahab, Ahaz, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, might neglect 
their duties to men, and escape punishment from men, but could not 
neglect their duties to God at so easy a rate. As all their sins were 
within the view of his omniscience, so all their persons were within 
the reach of his vengeance, and that found them out to their cost. 

He spareth none for their nearness to him. He beholdeth them 
afar off that are very near to him, when they make bold with him. 
Judges on earth may sometimes, though sinfully always, favour 
their kindred in an unrighteous cause, but he judgeth otherwise: 
' Though Coniah be to be as the signet on my right hand, I will 
pluck him thence,' Jer. xxii. 24. Israel was the nearest people to 
God of any people in the world, Ps. cxlviii. 14, with Deut. iv. 7 ; 
and Moses was the nearest to God of any of the people of Israel, 
yet they were excluded his rest for not believing his word ; and he 
was denied entrance into Canaan for not sanctifying God's name. 

3. He judgeth all according to law. This is another requisite 
to suffice ;i he will not condemn any for their omissions or com- 
missions, but according to law. We count that judge just indeed 
that keeps the law, and will not upon any account swerve from 
that. Our Lord Jesus, when he sentenceth those that neglect to 
feed the hungry, and clothe the naked, &c., to everlasting fire, 
proceedeth according to law exactly. These persons, as hath been 
before proved, are under the law of works, and so must stand or 
fall for ever, as they obey or disobey that law. Now that law con- 
demneth for omissions, and not doing our duties, as well as for com- 
missions, and abounding in enormities. It saith, ' Cursed is every 
one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the 
law, to do them,' Gal. iii. 13. Observe, the law curseth those that 
omit, that continue not to do their duties, as well as those that do 
the contrary. 

1 Qu. ' office ' ?— Ed. 

.Chap. XXVII.] the sinner's last sentence. 357 

4. He will render to every man according to his works. He 
may punish, and doth in this world, less, but neither in the other 
nor in this more, than our iniquities deserve. All men's sins are 
not equal, therefore all men's sufferings shall not be equal. Accord- 
ing to the degree of men's defilements, such shall be the degree of 
their punishment. He distinguisheth between sins and sins, be- 
tween them that afflict his children, and those that relieve them 
not in their afEictions ; between those that hale them to prisons, 
and put them to death, and those that visit them not in prison. 
He exacteth not of men more than is meet. 

He will put a difference between heathens, who have little means 
to know and worship him aright, and Jews, to whom were com- 
mitted the oracles of God, to whom pertained the adoption, and 
the covenant, and the giving of the law, and the promises. These 
have greater means and mercies, and therefore greater wrath and 
severity : ' Tribulation and anguish, indignation and wrath on the 
soul of every man that doth evil ; on the Jew first, and also on the 
Gentiles,' Eom. iii. 2, ix. 4, and ii. 7. ' You only have I known, there- 
fore you will I punish of all the families of the earth for your iniqui- 
ties/ Amos iii. 2. He will distinguish between Jews and Christians 
that live under the gospel. Omissions are more tolerable, and less 
punishable, among heathens than Jews, and among Jews before 
Christ's coming, than those Jews that lived under the gospel, and 
saw Christ's miracles, and heard his sermons, with those Christians 
that enjoy the gospel. Mat. xi. 21-23. It will be more toler- 
able for Tyre and Sidon than for Chorazin and Bethsaida, and for 
Sodom and Gomorrah than for Capernaum, because these lived 
under greater light and helps, and yet continued in the neglect of 
faith and repentance. 

He will not punish those that omit their duties ignorantly, when 
they are diligent to improve what advantages they have for know- 
ledge, so severely as he will those who neglect their duties knowingly. 
God expects a life answerable to that light which he hath given us, 
and if we imprison his truth in unrighteousness, we provoke him in 
the highest degree : ' He that knoweth his master's will, and doth 
it not, shall be beaten with many stripes. He that knoweth not 
his master's will, and doth it not, shall be beaten with few stripes.' 
Both shall be beaten, but the former suffer more stripes than the 
latter. It is cold comfort, yet herein the righteousness of the judge 
appeareth, that some who are guilty of omissions shall have a cooler 
hell than others : ' For he rendereth to every man according to his 
works,' Rom. ii. 

358 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXVIII* 


Practical godliness necessary. 

Use 4. If Christ will condemn men at the great day for sins of omis- 
sion, for not visiting the sick and imprisoned, and not relieving the 
hungry and naked, then it may inform us that nothing short of 
practical godliness will speak a man's estate safe at this day, or 
forespeak his estate to be comfortable at that day. The want of 
this is the cause of these men's condemnation. They might forbear 
injuring the saints ; they might speak them fair, bid them. Be ye 
fed, be ye clothed; they might wish them well, they might 
honour and respect them, as Herod did the Baptist, for their 
sanctity and righteousness, yet because they were void of this prac- 
tical godliness, they gave them not wherewith to be fed and clothed, 
they are banished the presence of Christ, and adjudged to the curses 
and company of devils. 

1. A great profession will not do without this practical godliness. 
Some soar high in their professions of, and pretences to, greater strict- 
ness and degrees of grace and holiness than others, who, alas ! fall 
foully often on earth, and always into hell, for lack of this practical 
godliness ; as some great tradesmen, who living wholly upon their 
credit with others, without any stock of their own, quickly break 
and miscarry. A profession is but as the leaves of a tree, a sign of 
fruit, not the fruit itself. There is a vast difference between leaves 
and fruit. Some think that Christ had not cursed the fig tree if 
it had been without leaves as well as without fruit ; but when by 
its leaves it professed to have fruit, and invited him to it in expec- 
tation thereof, and disappointed him, he presently claps a curse on 
it, that witiiers it at the very roots.i The pharisees were great 
professors, made broad their phylacteries, wherever they went, would 
be known for persons extraordinarily pious and religious, yet how 
wicked was their state : Mat. v. 20, ' Except your righteousness 
exceed the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, ye shall never 
enter into the kingdom of God ; ' and how woeful is their condition ! 
' Woe to you scribes, pharisees, hypocrites ! ' ye live in omissions, ye 
neglect the great things of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith. 
Mat. xxiii. 23. 

2. Great gifts and parts will not do without this. A man may 
have choice natural abilities, rare acquired accomplishments, yea, 

' Vide Robinson, part i. 132. 

Chap. XXVIII.] the sinner's last sentence. 359 

common gifts of the Spirit of God, and yet for want of this practical 
godliness be damned. What amiable words come out of Balaam's 
mouth ! he speaks like a saint, yea, like an angel. How often have 
I heard his prophecies with great admiration and affection ! His 
tongue hath melted my heart, and yet he had no good works, for 
all his many good words ; and his lack of practical godliness ruined 
him. What special endowments had they who preached in the 
name of Christ, and in his name cast out devils, and in his name 
did many marvellous works, and yet were cast to devils for being 
workers of iniquity, as all are who are void of this practical godli- 
ness. Mat. vii. 21, 23. What excellent gifts doth the apostle sup- 
pose a man to have, the gift of prophesying, of understanding all 
mysteries, and all knowledge, and of all faith, so as to remove 
mountains, and yet if he have not charity, he is nothing, &c., 1 Cor. 
xiii. 2, 3. If he love not his brother, and express it not to his power, 
by spiritual and bodily charity, which is part of practical godliness, 
he is nothing in Cod's eye, whatever he may be in the eyes of men. 

3. Great privileges, with seeming performances, without this 
practical godliness, will not do. They who had tabernacle, temple, 
ark, covenant, promises, for want of this were destroyed ; the ark 
could not preserve them. Afterwards, when they neglected prac- 
tical godliness, the temple could not protect them. He bids the 
Jews go and see what he did to his place at Shiloh for their iniqui- 
ties. He made them monuments of his fury, who had been patterns 
of his pity, when they neglected this practical godliness. 

How meanly doth God discourse of seeming obedience to his own 
institutions when this is neglected. Though they had his own 
divine stamp on them, and were signs of the sweetest sacrifice, and 
the most acceptable service imaginable, and he had often taken 
delight in them, yet when they left off to do well, observe his 
language about them : ' To what purpose is the multitude of your 
sacrifices to me, saitli the Lord. Bring no more vain oblations ; 
incense is an abomination to me ; your new moons and your 
appointed feasts my soul hateth ; I cannot bear them.' What 
strange expressions are here of his own institutions ! But what is 
the reason ? Truly the lack of this : ver. 17, ' Learn to do well ; 
seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead 
for the widow,' Isa. i. 11-28. And how peremptorily doth he beat 
men off from trusting in their privileges, as of no advantage with- 
out this practical godliness : ' Think not,' saith the Baptist, ' to say 
within yourselves. We have Abraham to our father.' This was a 
great privilege, for with him and his seed was the covenant made, 

360 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXIX. 

and to them were circumcision, and the passover, the seals of it, 
given. But what counsel doth he give them ? Truly, to mind 
practical godliness. Bring forth fruit meet for repentance ; i.e., for 
all the great privilege in which you take so much pride, and upon 
which you lay so much stress, yet you can never flee from the 
wrath to come, unless you bring forth good fruit, fruit meet for 
repentance — such fruit as will speak your hearts to be changed, 
such fruit as is suitable to a renewed nature. This, and this alone, 
is practical godliness. The coherence in that Mat. iii. 8-10, 
deserves our observation. And John saith unto the Pharisees, 
' generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the 
wrath to come ? bring forth therefore fruit meet for repentance : 
and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our 
father ; for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise 
up children to Abraham.' Do not think that God is bound to, and 
must save you, because ye are Abraham's seed, for God can of 
stones make sons of Abraham. ' And now also the axe is laid to 
the root of the tree ; therefore every tree that bringeth not forth 
Sfood fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.' 


The condition of men only civil is unsafe and sad. 

Use 5. If Christ will condemn men at the great day for sins of 
omission, for not relieving the poor and afflicted, it may inform us 
that the condition of men merely civil, and negatively religious, 
will be woeful at that day. Why ? Because Christ will command 
them to depart from him into everlasting fire. Ah how dreadful will it 
be to take an eternal farewell of the Lord of life, the God of all grace, 
the well of salvation, and to enter into a state of death and wrath, 
and that for ever. ' If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall 
the sinner and ungodly appear,' 1 Pet. iii. By sinner, I suppose, 
is meant the scandalous man, who liveth in commission. It is said 
of Mary Magdalene, who had been guilty of notorious enormities, 
Luke vii., ' For she is a sinner;' and it is said of the publican (whose 
whole tribe was infamous for extortation and bribery) that he was 
a sinner : ' He is gone to be a guest to one that is a sinner.' By 
ungodly, as the very word 6 dcre/3r]<} signifieth, is meant one that 
liveth in omissions, one that liveth without the worshij) of God ; 
i.e., without the love and fear, the acknowledgment and adoration 

Chap. XXIX.] the sinner's last sentence. 361 

of this God. Worship is that high honour and solemn respect 
that the creature owes to God ; not to give him this is un- 
godhness. An ungodly man is one that doth not seek God, nor' 
trust God, nor obey God ; that doth not own him in his mercies as 
his father and benefactor, nor in his judgments as a wise mas- 
ter, that would by chastisements make him partaker of his 
holiness. Now if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the 
sinner and ungodly appear? If there be a difficulty in the salva- 
tion of the righteous, there is a necessity of the damnation of the 
sinner and ungodly. If the righteous get so hardly to heaven, the 
sinner and ungodly must surely be cast into hell. Where shall the 
sinner and ungodly, those that are guilty of these omissions and 
commissions, appear ? They must appear somewhere, but they can 
appear nowhere with comfort, or without unspeakable horror. 
Where shall they appear ? before God ? why, they hate his being, 
despise his dominions, slight his love, disobey his laws, and indeed 
seek his life ; and can they appear before him ? Can they look for 
a smile from his face, who loathe him perfectly ? or can they stand 
before his frowns and fury ? Do they know the weight of his hand, 
the killing darts of his eye, and the power of his anger ? No, surely, 
they cannot appear before him : ' Thou, even thou art to be feared ; 
and who may stand when thou art angry ?' Where shall they 
appear ? Shall they appear before Christ the judge of quick 
and dead ? before him who sometimes invited them earnestly to 
come to him, and entreated them affectionately to accept of him, 
and live with him ? Shall they appear before him ? It is 
his call which they have despised, and his commands which they 
have violated. It is his blood which they have trampled on, 
and his Spirit whom they have grieved. They are his members 
whom the sinners have oppressed and wronged, and his children, 
and spouse, and body, which the ungodly have neglected, and not 
relieved. Oh how glad would they be if the rocks would crush them 
to pieces, that they might be delivered from the wrath of the Lamb ! 
Rev. vi. 15. Their severe sentence, which may make every ear to 
tingle, and heart to tremble that hears it, will proceed from his 
mouth : ' Then shall he say unto them on his left hand, Depart from 
me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.' But where shall these sinners 
and ungodly appear ? Shall they appear before the saints ? Alas t 
with what face can they behold them, whose persons they have 
imprisoned, whose estates they have plundered, whose profession 
they have derided, whose names they have abused, and whom they 
have often wished out of the way, and thought the troublers of the 

362 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXIX. 

family, and town, and country where they lived ? If the saints 
plead it must be against them, for they cannot but as justices agree 
and concur with the sentence of the judge as righteous and just. 

But where shall they appear ? Shall they appear before the law ? 
No, that condemneth them for the least omission, for the smallest 
commission, to hell fire ; they are the prohibitions of the law that 
the sinner hath transgressed, and they are the precepts of the law 
that the ungodly hath not obeyed ; and therefore the law curseth 
them both to the uttermost. The law enableth sin to bind over the 
transgressor of it to the wrath and curse of God; hence it is said, 
' The strength of sin is the law.' 

But where shall they appear ? Shall they appear before the 
gospel ? No, their omissions have most relation to the gospel. 
They have not believed the truth of it. They have not em- 
braced the goodness of it. They have not obeyed the pre- 
cepts of it. They rejected the tenders of pardon and life made 
to them in the gospel with frequency and fervency. They would 
not come to their physician to be healed of their mortal diseases. 
Though he came to them, and offered his help freely, and assured 
them of effectual and speedy recovery, if they would be directed by 
him, yet they rejected the counsel of God against themselves ; 
therefore the gospel will condemn as surely, and more sorely, than 
the law : ' If the w^ord spoken by angels was steadfast, and every 
disobedience received a just recompence of reward : how shall we 
escape if we neglect so great salvation ?' Heb. ii. 2, 3 ; Johniii. 19. 
And again, ' of how much sorer punishment shall he be thought 
worthy ? ' 

But where shall they appear? Shall they appear on earth? 
Surely there will be no earth then for them to appear in. That 
earth which they sported so much in, as leviathan in the waters, 
and which they were fond of, and delighted in, will be burnt up 
with fire, and consumed with fervent heat. 

But where shall they appear ? Shall they appear in heaven ? 
Can an unsanctified heart enter into the Holy of holies ? No : 
' Without holiness no man shall see the Lord,' Heb. xii. 14. An 
impure eye cannot behold such an infinitely pure object. When 
angels, seated in heaven as their habitation, once lost their purity, 
they soon lost their place. Heaven could not bear them ; it is not 
as Noah's ark, to take in all sorts, clean or unclean : ' Into it can 
in no wise enter anything that is unclean,' Kev. xxi, 27. Neither 
could they bear heaven. The spiritual delights of that celestial 
court became unsuitable to their polluted natures. The rarest 

Chap. XXIX.] the sinner's last sentence. 363 

dainties and most curious delicates are altogether unsavoury and 
unpleasant to an aguish and distempered palate. 

But where shall they appear ? If they cannot appear before 
Grod their maker, before the Lord Jesus Christ, before the saints, 
before whom shall they appear ? If they cannot appear before 
the law, before the gospel, before what shall they appear ? It 
must be in hell, before devils and damned spirits, with them to lodge 
and dwell for ever. Ah, the great day iscalledthe terrible day of the 
Lord Jesus, and it will be a terrible day indeed to these mere civilians- 
It is called the day of perdition of ungodly men. It is to others a 
day of consolation : ' Lift up your heads with joy, for the day of your 
redemption draweth nigh ;' a day of promotion : 'It is your Father's 
pleasure to give you a kingdom,' Luke xii. 32 ; John xvii, 24. A 
day of rest from all their labours, and sorrows, and sufferings, 
bodily or s|)iritually, Rev. xiv. 13. But it is the day of perdition of 
ungodly men. They who live without God here, must live without 
him for ever ; and this farthest, utmost, endless departure of the 
creature from God, who is the only life and heaven of him, 
will be a death and hell with a witness. God will be God at that 
day in the account of the worst of men, though he be their laugh- 
ing-stock and sinning-stock at this day. 

Though these ungodly ones sit aloft here in the courts of men, 
and who but they, yet 'the ungodly shall not stand in his judg- 
ment,' Ps. i. 5. At the great day, when they shall be judged, 1. 
They shall be ashamed, they^ shall not stand, i.e., not hold up their 
heads with joy, but hang down their heads with shame, Dan. xii. 
Some shall arise to shame and confusion of face. 2. The ungodly 
shall not stand in the judgment, i.e., they shall not be justified. 
When they shall be tried for their lives and deaths, for their end- 
less, unchangeable states, they shall be cast and condemned. When 
all Adam's posterity shall make their personal appearance before 
the God of the spirits of all flesh, to receive their eternal doom ; and 
when the judge of quick and dead, clothed with his majestic robes 
of glory, accompanied with an illustrious train of angels, shall sit 
down on the judgment seat, he shall pronounce a sentence of con- 
demnation on all ungodly ones. ' If thou, Lord, shouldst mark 
iniquity, Lord, who should stand ?' Ps. cxxx. 3 ; i.e., if thou. Lord, 
should observe exactly the best man's heart and life, and accord- 
ingly deal with him, not one man could be justified. Who shall 
stand, i.e., righteous, at thy bar ? 3. The ungodly shall not stand 
in the judgment ; i.e., they shall not conquer, when they shall be 
impleaded and accused by the devil and the law at that day. An 

364 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXX. 

army foiled, is said not to stand before their enemies. And again, 
an army beaten is said to fall before their adversaries, Dan. xi. 25. 
And the conquerors are said to stand, Eph, vi. 13. The devil 
vpill bring his large bills of indictments into the court against the 
ungodly, for he is avT'ihiKo^, 1 Pet. v. 8, a court-adversary ; and 
the law will second the devil, and join with him in his accusations ; 
the sinner's conscience will join with both, and assent to the truth 
of their indictments. The ungodly will have no advocate to plead 
for him. Christ, that sometimes offered him that kindness, will 
now plead against him, and so he must needs fall and be conquered 
by his enemies 


Sinners' conviction at the day of judgment. The purity of Christ's 
religion above all others. 

Use 6. If Christ will say to them on the left hand, ' Depart from me : 
for I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat ;' or if Christ will con- 
demn men for sins of omission at the great day, it informs us that 
Christ will be rational in his most severe proceedings, even to the 
conviction of the sinner's own conscience. I draw this from the 
coherence of the verses. Christ first pronounceth the sentence : ver. 
41 , ' Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire ;' and then, 
ver. 42, he gives the reason, ' For I was hungry, and ye gave me 
no meat,' &c., which, though at first they seem to question, yet at 
last they are muzzled and put to silence. Jude tells us of solemn 
condemnation and solemn conviction of these ungodly ones, as the 
chief business of that day : ' Behold, he cometh with ten thousand 
of his saints, to execute judgment on all, and to convince all that 
are ungodly amongst them of all their ungodly deeds which they 
have ungodlily committed, and of all their hard speeches which 
ungodly sinners have spoken against him,' Jude 14, 15. Execu- 
tion, by an hysteron proteron, is put before conviction ; yet one 
great work of that great day is to convince these ungodly ones, and 
the severity of the process is against the ungodly. 

This conviction implieth, 

1. A reflection of conscience upon all their past and former sins. 
Conscience, as a glass, shall represent to the sinner all his lusts, 
which he hath loved above his soul and Saviour, in all their ugly 
features and loathsome colours. The books at that day will be 

Chap. XXX.] the sinner's last sentence. 365 

opened, Eev. xx. 12 , i.e., the book of God's remembrance, Mai. iii., 
and the book of conscience. Sins are not gone as soon as done ; 
God records them in his book of remembrance, and conscience will 
review them all in that day of vengeance. Though it could not be 
heard by the sinner in this world, for the noise of his carnal delights, 
and cry of his worldly delights, yet when it sets his sins in order 
before his eyes in their monstrous frightful shapes, it will thunder 
in his ears, as Reuben to his brethren, Did not I tell you of this, 
and say, Do not sin, and thou wouldst not hear ; therefore all this 
wrath, and fury, and flames, and darkness, and chains are come 
upon thee. 

2. This conviction implieth a silencing the sinner, that he will 
have nothing to say either against God, or for himself. A man 
that is convinced hath his mouth stopped. When the spirit con- 
vinceth the world of sin, the world hath not a word to say against 
the sin and guilt which the law chargeth on it ; every mouth is 
stopped, and all the world is guilty before God. How often is the 
poor creature self-convinced and self-condemned here ; but soon 
after the sick qualms go off his stomach, and he is revived with 
the cordials of sinful shifts and excuses, wherewith he deludes 
himself, and presumes he may also deceive God ; but at the great 
day, as his convictions will be more killing, so they will be more 
lasting. The man will be dumb and speechless when Christ shall 
say, Why didst thou deny to relieve my servants in their wants ? 
Why didst thou slight my blood, neglect my worship, grieve my 
Spirit, and omit to obey my positive laws ? Mat. xxii. 3-5. The 
very heathen, who shall be imprisoned in the dark dungeon of hell, 
for imprisoning the truth, and holding it in unrighteousness, will 
not have a motion in their breasts of accusing God for false im- 
prisonment. How certainly then, and how fully, will the con- 
sciences of Christians, who lived under the gospel, justify God, 
w^hen he shall condemn them for not believing, and not repenting, 
upon the messages he sent to them of pardon and life. 

Use 7. If Christ will condemn men at the great day for sins of omis- 
sion, it may inform us of the excellency of the Christian religion 
above all other religions. The excellency of any religion consisteth 
in the purity of its precepts, and strictness of its commands ; now 
no religion is so holy in its commands, and so exact in its laws, as 
the Christian religion. Moral duties are advanced by it to their 
highest perfection, and moral vices are debased by it to their lowest 
degradation. ' The commandment of the Lord is pure,' Ps. xix. ' Thy 
word is very pure.' Christ will condemn men to hell at the last 

366 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXX. 

day for omissions as well as commissions, for neglect of known 
duties, as well as for the perpetration of gross enormities. 

1. If we consider the religion of the heathen, we shall find that 
it is vastly inferior in purity to the Christian religion. Among the 
Gentiles, who lived without the gospel, it can scarce be said there 
was any religion at all, for their gods were stocks, and stones, and 
trees, and fire, and water, and beasts, and dead men ; nay, their 
precepts were so far from purity, that they commended and com- 
manded impurity. As among the ancient Babylonians, in the 
worship of Venus, the women prostituted themselves to all strangers ; 
nay, the very gods of the heathen did, according to their own ficti- 
tious writers, patronise all their impieties, even by their own 
patterns. Jupiter, the chief forsooth of their gods, who had his 
name from being a helping father, commits incest with his own 
sister Juno, and his daughter Minerva, sodomy with Ganymedes, 
ravisheth Europa, banisheth his father Saturn out of his kingdom. 
Venus was a whore, Mercury a thief, Bacchus a drunkard, &c. But 
to leave these, and speak to them that were more sober in their 
understandings, and not so vain in their imaginations, who had 
ep'jov vofjLov, the work of the law written in their hearts, Eom. ii. 
14, and improved it to more purpose than others ; yet these pleased 
themselves with a little outward civility, without any inward or 
outward practical godliness. Their chief devotion consisted in 
abstaining from gross sins, which might expose them to the shame 
of men, and the doing some external acts of piety, as sacrificing 
and mumbling over a few prayers that were little significant. Oh 
how vastly doth the Christian religion excel this ! This religion of 
the heathen doth rather hide sin than heal it. It doth not root the 
love of sin out of the heart, only restrain it in the life. But the 
Christian religion doth forbid sin in the affections as well as in the 
conversation, it doth abscindere as well as abscondere, cure sin as 
well as cover it. In the best heathen the fire of their lusts was only 
raked up, and covered with ashes from the eyes of the world ; but 
now in the Christian it is quenched, at least in part, and shall by 
degrees be wholly quenched. The Christian religion doth not only 
forbid all sins, or outward commissions, but also all lusts and in- 
ward inclinations : ' I beseech you, brethren, to abstain as pilgrims 
and strangers from all fleshly lusts, that war against the soul,' 
1 Pet. ii. 11. And a religious Christian doth not only forbear gross 
commissions, but also abhor secret sinful motions : ' I hate vain 
thoughts, but thy law do I love,' Ps. cxix. 

Those among the heathen who were the wisest, made nothing of 

Chap. XXX.] the sinner's last sentence. 367 

neglecting to give God their love, and fear, and trust, their highest 
honour, and superlative esteem, and exactest obedience, which are 
the chief of religion. They allowed revenge in case of suffering 
injury ; and some of their greatest lawgivers ordained theft to be 
unpunishable, if it could be done cleanly and cleverly, so as not to 
be found out. They put away their wives upon any small distaste, 
and took others during their pleasure only. Their whole religion 
had not one prohibition against inward corruptions, nor one precept 
for inward heart duties, and therefore must of necessity come short 
of the Christian religion for purity. 

2, If we consider the Turkish religion, what a bundle of fooleries 
is Mahomet's Alcoran, and what a dunghill of filthiness is the 
religion of his followers ! They allow a man as many wives as he 
can maintain, and encourage men to murder, with a promise of a 
(poetical, carnal) paradise to all that shall die in the wars against 
the Christians. They obey the lusts of their tyrant in all things, 
even to the murder of their sovereign's nearest relations, or chiefest 
ministers of state, against the very light and law of nature. They 
do not so much as profess to mind those heart prohibitions and 
precepts, without which all external holiness is but as a rotten 
carcase, noisome and unsavoury to God's nostrils, and without any 
loveliness or life in his eyes. Nay, the popish religion, so far as it 
differs from the true Christian religion, is impure. They have sins 
that are venial, allow publicly of uncleanness. The pope hath a 
revenue out of the stews ; they dispense with sodomy, incest, any 
sin, for money ; they place all their holiness in some external mor- 
tifications, which God never required at their hands. But what 
doth the Christian religion do ? It reacheth the heart, and teacheth 
the soul : ' The law of the Lord is perfect,' Ps. xix. 

(1.) It directs the whole man, and gives laws to all the powers of 
the soul, and parts of the body. It directs us about our bodies and 
outward conversation : it commands to present our bodies a living 
sacrifice to God, Rom. xii. 1, and the members o£ our bodies as 
instruments of righteousness unto holiness. It binds the eyes, ears, 
tongue, hands, feet, all the members to their good behaviour. It 
allows not any part to be abused to profaneness. Job xxxi. 1 ; Ps. 
cxix., xxxvii. 30, 31, and xxxiv, 13, 14 ; Rom. vi. 13-17. It 
directs us about our souls : ' The law of the Lord is perfect, con- 
verting the soul,' Ps. xix. 7. It changeth the nature of the soul, 
and opens the eye of it, and turns it from darkness to light, and 
f]-om the power of Satan to God, Acts xxvi. 18. It directeth the 
mind to learn the knowledge of God, as the richest treasure, and 

368 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXX. 

choicest portion, and only happiness of the creature : 1 Chron. 
xxviii. 9, ' And thou Solomon, my son, know the God of thy 
fathers.' It directs the will to choose this God for its suitable, and 
satisfying, and everlasting felicity, Ps. Ixxiii. 25. It limits the 
affections as to their objects, and their motion towards those objects. 
It forbids inordinate desires after, or delight in, sublunary vanities, 
and commands moderation in our love to all created comforts : 
' Let your moderation be known to all men. The time is short ; let 
them that have wives be as though they had none,' &c., 1 Cor. vii. 
29. It enjoins our love in the greatest degree to be placed on the 
worthiest object : ' Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy 
heart, and all thy soul, and all thy strength,' Mat. xxii. 37. And 
so our fear : ' Fear, him that can cast body and soul into hell ; I say 
unto you, fear him.' It keeps all the unruly passions within their 
proper banks and bounds, and preserves the superior and inferior 
faculties in their proper places. Now, what religion, either of 
moralists or Mohammedans, doth so ? 

(2.) As it directs about the whole man, so it directs as to every 
part and passage of this man's conversation. We need never be 
at a loss for a rule, or at a stand what to do, if we will but use 
diligence to know and understand the revealed will of God. The 
Christian religion directs us in our callings, whether magistrates, 
ministers, tradesmen, soldiers, Luke iii. It directs us in our rela- 
tions, as husbands, wives, parents, children, masters, servants, Eph. 
v., and vi. ; Col. iii,, and iv. It directs us in all conditions how 
to demean ourselves, in prosperity to be joyful, in adversity to con- 
sider how God hath set the one against the other ; in afflictions 
to be patient and prayerful, and more studious of a right improve- 
ment of them, than of deliverance out of them. Under mercies it 
directs us to be thankful to God, the more cheerful in his service, 
and faithful in the use of our talents, for the honour of our Master. 
It directs us in all our thoughts, Jer. iv. 14 ; words, Ps. xxxix. 2 ; 
works, Prov. iv, 23, 24, 26. It directs us in all our natural actions, 
as eating, drinking, sleeping, 1 Cor. x. 31 ; Titus ii. 12 ; in our 
civil converses, Micah vi. 8 ; in our religious duties, how to pray, 
James i. 5, 6 ; how to hear, how to receive, 1 Cor. xi, 

(3.) Its purity above and beyond all other religions appears in 
this, that it forbids evil, all evil, nothing but evil ; it commands 
good, whatsoever is good, and nothing but good, Isa. i. ; Ps. xxxii. 
14. The laws of Lycurgus among the Grecians, and Numa among 
the Romans, had somewhat of good in them, but not all ; prohi- 
bited somewhat that was evil, but not all that was evil. But the 

Chap. XXX.] the sinner's last sentence. 369^ 

Christian religion is of a larger extent, both in its precepts and 
prohibitions : ' I have seen an end of all perfections, but thy com- 
mandments are exceeding broad,' Ps. cxix. 96. A man with the 
eye of his body may behold an end of many worldly perfections, of 
many fair estates, great beauties, large parts, hopeful families ; but 
a man with the eye of his soul (or by faith) may see an end of 
all earthly perfections. He may see the world in a flame, and all 
its pomp, and pride, and glory, and gallantry, and crowns, and 
sceptres, and riches, and treasures, turned into ashes. He may see 
the heavens passing away like a scroll, and the elements melting 
with fervent heat, and the earth, with the things thereon, consumed; 
and all its perfections, which men doated so much on, vanished into 
smoke and nothing. It is easy to see to the end of all terrene 
perfections ; but it is difficult, yea impossible, to see to the end of 
divine precepts : ' But thy commandments are exceeding broad,' 
of a vast latitude, beyond our apprehension. They are so deep, 
that none can fathom them, Ps. xxxvi. 6 ; so high, that they are 
established in heaven, Ps. cxix. 48 ; so long, that they endure for 
ever, 2 Pet. i. ; and so broad, that none can measure them. They 
are not only broad, but exceeding broad: 'Higher than heaven, 
longer than the earth, broader than the sea.' The commands of 
God reach the inward parts, the most secret motions and retired 
recesses of the soul. They reach all the privy thoughts. They 
pierce even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the 
joints and marrow, and discern the thoughts and intents of the 
heart, Heb. iv. 12. They reach to all our actions ; to those that 
seem smallest and of less concernment, as well as to those that are 
greater and of more concernment. 

They reach to the manner, nay, circumstance, of actions. The 
divine law takes notice of all the circumstances of sins as ao:o:rava- 
tions of sin. As, 1. From the time of God's patience towards the 
sinner: 'These three years I came seeking fruit,' Luke xiii. 2. 
The place where the sin was committed : ' The sons of Eli lay 
with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of 
the congregation,' 1 Sam. ii. 22. 3. From the season of commit- 
ting the sin, Isa. Iviii. 3, 4 : ' Behold, in the day of your fast, ye 
find pleasure, and exact all your labour,' &c. 4. From the condi- 
tion of the person that sins : ' He that eats bread with me lifts up 
his heels against me,' John xiii. 18. A familiar friend proves a 
treacherous enemy. So John iii. 10, ' Art thou a master in Israel, 
and knowest not these things ? ' 5. From the means the person 
enjoys: ' You only have I known, therefore you will I punish for 

VOL. V. 2 a 

370 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXXI. 

your iniquities;' Amos iv. ; Kom. ii. 7. 6. From the manner of 
committing the sin : ' So they spread Absalom a tent on the top of 
the house, and Absalom went in to his father's concubines in the 
sight of all Israel/ 2 Sam. xvi. 22. Impudency in sin doth highly 
increase it. ' Were they ashamed when they committed all these 
abominations ? No, they were not ashamed.' But how far are 
other religions from observing, much more from condemning, men 
for such sinful circumstances ! 


The holiest have cause of humiliation. 

Use 8. If Christ will condemn men at the great day for sins of 
omission — 'I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat,'&c. — then it may 
inform us, that the best have abundant cause of humiliation ; for 
the best have in them abundant matter of condemnation. Oh, 
how many are our omissions every day, every hour ! and by reason 
of them we are obnoxious to hell flames. Good Bishop Usher, 
who, for piety and learning, was honoured through the Christian 
world ; though he was early converted, and feared the Lord in his 
youth; though he was eminently industrious in private, in his 
family, in catechising and instructing, and praying often every day 
with and for them that were committed to his charge ; though he 
was a constant preacher, and that with judgment and affection ; 
though he was singularly famous for his many worthy pieces 
which he wrote in Latin and English, yet, after all this diligence 
and labour, when he came to die, the last words almost which he 
was heard to speak were, Lord, in special forgive my sins of 
omissions.-^ Sins of omission will at death lie heavier on our hearts 
than we think for in life. If such a laborious person found cause 
of bewailing his omissions, surely much more cause have loiterers 
as we are. 

Omissions are fruits of original corruption, as well as commis- 
sions. It is from that dead stock that we are so defective in bring- 
ing forth good fruit. Paul layeth his omissions at this door : Eom. 
vii. 17-23, ' In my flesh is no good. When I would do good, 
evil is present with me,' &c. Now, whatsoever is the child of such 
a monstrous parent is loathsome, and calls on us for sorrow and 
self-abhorrence. Holy Job did but suspect his children to be 

^ Usher's Life. 

Chap. XXXL] the sinner's last sentence. 371 

guilty of omissions, of not sanctifying tlie name of God in their 
hearts, according to their duties, at their feasts and meetings : ' And 
he riseth early and offereth sacrifice, according to the number of 
them all,' Job i. 4, 5. He goeth to God, and begs pardon for 
them, and the blessing of God upon every one of them : ' It may 
be/ saith he, ' my sons have sinned, and cursed' (and not blessed 
God, so Calvin reads it) ' God in their hearts. Thus did Job con- 
tinually.' Now if Job, upon a supposition that his sons might be 
guilty of omissions, was so constant in his addresses to God on 
their behalf, by way of humiliation, acknowledging their iniquity, 
and beseeching his mercy, what cause have we, on the behalf of our 
own souls, who know that we often offend God by omissions, and 
know not how often we offend him by them ? God may say to 
thee and me, reader, ' Is not thy wickedness great, and iniquities 
infinite ? ' as he to Job, chap. xx. 5 ; where, by wickedness, exposi- 
tors understand commissions, or those sins by which we prejudice 
or injure others ; and by iniquities, omissions, by which we neglect, 
according to our duties, to relieve others. And Eliphaz calls his 
wickedness great, because, as I have shewed in the first informa- 
tion, they are in some respects greater, more heinous, than sins of 
omission ; and his iniquities infinite, because sins of omission are 
more numerous than sins of commission. Corrupt nature can 
much better forbear what it hath an inclination and propensity to, 
than do that which it hath a dislike of, and an enmity against. 

For their nature, I have proved that they are very ponderous, 
that they are breaches of a positive law, grieve the Holy Ghost, 
provoke God, defile the conscience, yea, and destroy the soul for 
ever — how light soever some make of them — and for their number 
they are infinite, beyond all account or reckonings. If they were 
small sins, their number would compensate their lightness ; grains 
of sand are little, but a heap of them together is weighty : Prov. 
xxvii. 3, ' The sand is weighty.' ' In many things we offend all,' 
James iii. 2. Now, how should the nature and number of these 
sins humble us every day before the Lord ! What hour is there 
when we are awake wherein we may not do more good than we do ? 
When did we, in visiting a friend, or conferring with a neighbour, 
advantage their souls as we might and ought ? Can we say that 
we have been as diligent in our callings, as watchful and exemplary 
in our conversations, as thankful for our mercies, as fruitful under 
the ordinances of God, and as faithful in the improvement of our 
talents, as we are commanded to be ? Do we every day pray and 
read Scripture in our closets and families with that holy reverence, 

372 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXXI. 

humility, faith, seriousness, and integrity which God requireth? 
Do not worldly concerns now and then contend with, and jostle 
out, the worship of the great God — at least cause us to slip our 
prayers, and adjourn the Scripture's reading till a more convenient 
season ? Are we every week-day laborious in our callings, out of 
conscience to God's precept, and not out of a principle of covetous- 
ness ? Do we spend the greatest part of the day therein, without 
diversions by vain companions, or needless recreations ? Are our 
affections in heaven, and our hearts above, while our actions are 
earthly, and our hands are busy here below ? And do we deal in 
all things with others as we would, in the judgment of sound 
reason, that others should deal with us ? Mat. vii. 12. Is our daily 
carriage towards our relations sober, pious, affectionate, exemplary, 
and in all things as becomes the gospel of Christ ? Oh, how many 
are our omissions, and what millions of them are we guilty of, and 
therefore they call aloud upon us to mourn for them ! Others are 
in hell, and must weep for ever for them, where their sighs, and 
sobs, and prayers, and tears, will no way advantage them. Blessed 
be God, it is not so with us : though their tears will prove their 
hell, our tears, through the blood of Christ, may prove our heaven. 
Nehemiah, in the day of his solemn humiliation with the Jews, 
acknowledgeth and bewaileth their omissions, their not hearkening 
to his commands, and their not minding the wonders that he 
wrought for them, Neh. ix. 16, 17. So Daniel, when he fasted 
and prayed, and confessed his sins, and the sins of his people, be- 
wails their omissions : Dan. ix. 6, ' We have not hearkened unto 
thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, 
and princes, and fathers, and to all the people of the land ;' ver. 10, 
' We have not obej^ed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in 
the laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets ;' ver. 
13, 'All this evil is come upon us, yet made we not our prayer 
before the Lord our God.' What then ? why, he judgeth himself 
and his people for these sins, and justifieth God in all his severity. 
' Lord, righteousness belongs to thee, but to us confusion of face, 
as at this day, to the men of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem,' 
ver, 7. So again, ' Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to 
our kings, to our princes, to our fathers, because we have sinned 
against thee,' ver. 8. Omissions must be lamented in this or the 
other world ; we must all be ashamed of them here or hereafter ; 
and is it not much better to bewail them here, than to bewail them 
in hell ; to judge and condemn ourselves for them, than to be judged 
and condemned by God for them at the great day ? Ah, at what a 

Chap. XXXII.] the sinner's last sentence. 373 

cheap rate may a Christian, by repentance, prevent that blow that 
will separate him and all his happiness, and bring him to that re- 
pentance which will ever be repented of, but all to no purpose ! 
Oh, it is good to be wise on this side another world ! 


Use of trial, luhether ive he guilty of these omissions or no. 

Use 2. This doctrine may be useful in the second place by way 
of examination or trial. If Christ will condemn men at the great 
day for sins of omission, then it concerns us to examine ourselves, 
whether or no we are of the number of them that shall be con- 
demned for them at that day. Reader, it will not be amiss for 
thee to retire out of the crowd of the world into thy chamber, and 
there to commune with thine own heart concerning thy present 
condition, and how thou art like to fare for the future ; nay, it is 
of infinite weight and concernment, and may be as much worth as 
thy soul and eternal salvation. How many prove bankrupts, and 
are quite undone for this world, for want of a timely casting up 
their accounts. If they had cast up their accounts before, and per- 
ceived how far they had run behind-hand, they might have re- 
trenched their expenses, and advised and consulted some way to 
have prevented their utter destruction ; but they neglected to cast 
up their accounts, till their accounts cast them up, and it was too 
late to think of recalling what was past, or remedying what was 
amiss. Thus many that are professors, or Christians in title, deal 
with their own souls, and defer the trial of their estates till it be 
too late to amend anything amiss. If they would now in their 
health and strength search and try their hearts and ways, if they 
found things ill, they would have advantages and opportunities 
through the help of Christ to make them better : ' They might 
seek the Lord while he would be found, and call upon him while 
he is near.' They might sue and seek to Christ for eye-salve, that 
they might see the things of their peace ; for raiment to hide their 
nakedness, that it might not appear to their everlasting shame ; 
and for gold to enrich them for ever, to make them more worth 
than both worlds : if upon a faithful trial they found things well, 
it would rejoice their hearts, encourage them in ways of holiness, 
and confirm them against Satan's temptations to despair. But men 
generally neglect their examinations till Grod comes to examine 

374 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXXII. 

them, as the rulers commanded Paul to be examined, with scourg- 
ings and scorpions. They presume all is well, hope the best, and 
would be sorry any should question their estates, and thus persist 
in their self-deceits, till they come to appear before God, that the 
gate of mercy be shut, and the golden sceptre of grace be wholly 
withdrawn, and their estates become as desperate as the estates of 
the devils. 

To urge this use a little, reader, consider these two particulars : 
1. Consider of what weight it is, and how much depends upon this 
question : Am I of the number of them that shall be condemned for 
sins of omission or not ? Or am I guilty of omissions, so as to be 
banished the presence of Christ for them or not ? I tell thee, thy 
eternal joy or sorrow, happiness or misery, pleasure or pain, de- 
pends on it. Do but read and consider, and then say whether it 
be not of infinite weight : ' Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit 
the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world : 
for I was hungry, and ye gave me meat ; thirsty, and ye gave me 
drink,' &c. On the other side, ' Go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, 
prepared for the devil and his angels : for I was hungry, and ye 
gave me no meat ; thirsty, and ye gave me no drink,' &c. Friend, 
are not these weighty things, that depend on the performance or 
neglect of these positive precepts ? ' Come, ye blessed of my Father.' 
Is not a coming close, near, intimate, familiar, into his very bosom 
and dearest embraces, to Christ, a weighty thing? To come to 
Christ here is so weighty, that he came to men into this world to 
call them to him. Mat. xi. 28, and ix. 13 ; but to come to Christ 
there in all his robes, and riches, and royalty, in all his beauty, and 
glory, and magnificence, will questionless be of more concern to the 
soul. On the contrary, ' Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting 
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.' Is there not weight, 
reader, in these words ? Dost thou know what it is to bid Christ 
farewell, farewell for ever, to take an eternal leave of all good ? 
Canst thou bear the extremity of our culinary fires for a day ? 
Canst thou dwell in everlasting burnings, or abide unquenchable 
flames ? Thou seest all this depends upon thy performing or ne- 
glect of the divine positive precepts. Doth it not concern thee, in 
a matter of such weight, to be faithful in a trial of thyself ? Friend, 
are life and death, are eternal life and eternal death, indifferent 
things, or things of small moment ? Are an eternal enjoyment of 
God, or an endless separation from God, mean or trivial things ? 
Oh, how infinitely do they exceed and over-balance thy understand- 
ing ! How short must thou of necessity come of conceiving of these 


Chap. XXXII.] the sinner's last sentence. 375 

things according to their weight ? Alas, friend, what pitiful toys and 
trifles are houses, and lands, and friends, and relations, and honours, 
and preferments, ay, and liberty, and this temporal life, to an eternal 
happy life ! 

2, Consider, all are guilty of omissions, even the good as well as 
the bad, and therefore the more faithfulness, and prudence, and 
caution is requisite, lest we mistake. If saints and sinners are 
both guilty of omissions, how shall I know whether my omissions 
are such as will consist with salvation, unless I try and examine 
myself? The good man, being guilty of omissions, may fear the 
dreadful sentence of ' Go, ye cursed,' &c. And the wicked man, 
knowing that the best are guilty of many omissions as well as he, 
may presume upon the joyful sentence, ' Come, thou blessed of my 
Father,' &c. How shall each be rectified in his mistake, and satis- 
fied in the truth, but by an impartial and thorough examination of 
himself ? God hath given us a test, which is the word of truth, 
Eph. i. 13, whereby we may try ourselves, and prevent all mis- 
takes. Where there is a possibility of a mistake in a business of 
such infinite weight, there is sufficient ground for a serious trial ; 
but where there is so great a probability of mistaking, as a thing 
that is so easy and ordinary, because all men are guilty too much 
of omissions, there is a necessity of a faithful and impartial trial. 
There is that maketh himself rich — in temporals he is worth thou- 
sands, in spirituals he is rich towards God, and worth millions — yet 
hath nothing (orig., yet nothing, in him or to him he is nothing, 
he hath nothing for all his brags ;) there is that makes himself poor 
— speaks himself poor, would have others think him poor — yet hath 
great riches, (Heb., yet much substance; the man hath a great 
estate, but is willing to conceal it. Merchants, who are worth 
thousands, do not publish or boast of their wares or wealth about 
the city ; these poor creatures do it, who carry all their worth on 
their heads, or in their arms.) Junius reads the words well, Est 
qui divitem se jactat quum desint omnia, item qtii pauperem se 
fingit cui suhsiantia ampla. There is that boasts himself rich, to 
whom all things are wanting ; and that feigns himself poor, yet 
hath large substance. There is that boasts and brags himself rich 
in the fear and favour of God, and will tell you of his communion 
and converses with the divine majesty, of his love to, and delight 
in the ways, and people, and ordinances of God ; when all these 
things are wanting to him, he hatli nothing at all in reality of any 
of them. There is that feigns himself poor, that dissembles, as it 
were, his estate, that is a beggar, as some read the word poor here, 

376 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXXII. 

in his own account, and would have all others judge him so too ; 
he is so covetous after more, that he overlooks what he hath ; and 
so greedy of further attainments, that he takes little notice of his 
present spiritual enjoyments. If you will believe him, he is a 
mere beggar, hath not one bit of bread to eat, and if his Father, in 
whose house there is bread enough and to spare, do not pity and 
relieve his prodigal child, he shall perish for hunger ; yet this man 
hath much substance, is a man of worth and wealth indeed. He is 
like a branch mightily laden with fruit, and an ear fully laden with 
corn, which the heavier they are laden, the more they bow down to 
the ground. A mere titular Christian, like an empty vessel, may 
make a great sound, but the full vessel, that contains the precious 
liquor, is silent. 

I come now to the marks whereby men may know their estates. 
And for that end I shall lay down several propositions. 

Prop. 1. Those that live in commissions as well as omis- 
sions must certainly be condemned at the great day. These bid 
open defiance to the prohibitions, precepts, and penalty of the law, 
and dare the law to do its worst. Either these must be condemned, 
or all shall be saved. But God is of a holier nature than to dwell 
with such sinners. They may read their doom written under his 
own hand, and, like the law of the Medes and Persians, that cannot 
be altered, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10-; Eph. v. 5 ; Kom. viii. 5, ' To be carnally 
minded is death ;' ver. 13, ' If ye live after the flesh ye shall die,' 

Frop. 2. They who are guilty of total external omissions, 
are in a damnable condition. This is written in broad letters, that 
he who runs may read it. They who pray not are under wrath, 
and the effusions of wrath, Jer, x. 25. They who neglect to pay 
their external allegiance to the true God, and deny him his out- 
ward homage and acknowledgment, shall be denied and disowned 
by Christ, before his Father, and before his holy angels. The holy 
God doth all along speak of these as heathens, Ps. Ixxix. 6, and 
sinners with a witness, Ps. xxxvi. 1-3 ; and threateneth that Christ 
shall come in flaming fire, to render vengeance on them, 2 Thes. 
ii. 7-10. Those who are guilty of these total omissions, in regard 
of the matter of the duties commanded them, are ungodly in the 
highest degree, (for ungodliness strictly and properly speaks the 
neglect of our duties to God, and sins against the first table, as un- 
righteousness, the neglect of our duties to our neighbour, and our 
transgressions against the second table,) and so none in the whole 
Scripture more obnoxious to wrath and ruin, Ps. Ixxiii. 12. ' These 
are the ungodly who prosper in the world ;' but mark how soon they 

Chap. XXXII.] the sinnek s last sentence, 377 

perish : ver. 18, 'Thou easiest them down to destruction, and utterly 
consumest them with terrors ; ' 2 Pet. iii. 7 ; Jude 4, 1 5. 

Prop. 3. Those who perform external duties, and wholly neglect 
internal, or please themselves in total inward omissions, cannot 
be in a state of salvation. God will not be put off with the 
body, without the soul of religion. Indeed, external duties are but 
the garments or clothes of religion, wherein it appears, and where- 
by it is known to the world ; the life and power of it consists in in- 
ternal performances, or those that are the motions and actions of 
the understanding, and will, and affections, as in the knowledge of 
God, his being and excellency, and the kindness he hath for, and 
the love he hath to, mankind in Jesus Christ ; as also in the choos- 
ing him for our richest treasure, and supreme Lord and lawgiver, 
and in loving him with all the heart, and soul, and strength, and 
desiring his love above all the world, and delighting in his favour, 
as the soul's felicity, and seeking to please him, rather than to com- 
mand the creation. A man without these is but the picture of a 
saint ; he hath somewhat of the resemblance, but nothing of the 
reality of a Christian ; he hath a form, but nothing of the power of 
godliness, 2 Tim. iii. 1-7, and therefore is in a state of perdition. 
The neglect of believing, repenting, loving the ^Lord Jesus Christ, 
are all inward omissions, for these are acts proper and peculiar to 
the soul, and condemned in Scripture with the most dreadful dam- 
nation, Mark xvi. IG ; John iii. 36; Luke xiii. 3; 1 Cor. xvi. 22. 
If a man pray, and pray wholly without faith and without fervency, 
James i. and v., this is no way acceptable to God. All such 
prayers are bowlings and babblings, and of no sweet sound in God's 
ears, Hosea vii. ; Isa. i. 15-17. Whatsoever a man doth either by 
way of hearing, or singing, or praying, or receiving, if there be not 
that dread of God, and love to his name, and faith in Christ, which 
are the essentials of these duties, all is as nothing. 

Prop. 4. Those who allow themselves in partial omissions, 
whether external or internal, are in no good condition. By par- 
tial omissions, I mean at some times ; as for prayer ; a man, it 
may be, prays in his closet or f^imily usually, but if any worldly 
business intervene and calls for his company, he will as usually 
attend on that, and wholly omit his closet and family duties for 
that morning or evening. Or for a man to pray, as some do, only 
at the evening, and not in the morning, as if God were the God 
of the night, and not of the day ; or as some others, who will pray 
only upon the Lord's-day, as if God had a right to them then, but 
not all the week after. Or when men perform some religious 

378 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXXII. 

duties, and not others, will pray, but not read Scripture daily, or 
pray, and read the word, but not take notice of those under their 
roofs, to instruct, and admonish, and support them, as occasion is. 
Or some will perform their duties which immediately concern Grod, 
but will not be charitable to the poor, at least not in such a degree 
and measure as their estates will bear, and as God expects. These, 
and suchlike, I understand by partial and external omissions. 
What is meant by internal partial omission is next to be considered. 
Partial internal omissions are, when men oftentimes, though not 
constantly, are negligent in the manner of performing their duties ; 
and though they be formal, and superficial, and lazy, and slothful 
in the worship of God, yet they take little or no notice thereof. In- 
deed, sometimes they find some heat and warmth, and this pleaseth 
them ; but at other times they are cold and lifeless in their duties, 
and this doth not much displease them. They can commonly 
pray as if they prayed not, and read as if they read not, and wait 
on God without any suitable and considerable affections towards 
him, and not be disturbed at it. These sudden heats at one time, 
and colds at another time, speak the body out of order^ and the 
soul not healthy. The next thing to be explained is, what is 
meant by allowing themselves" in partial omissions; and indeed 
the stress of the proposition depends on that. To allow themselves 
in these partial omissions notes these two things : to know these 
partial omissions to be sins, and yet to continue in them without 
any great disturbance or trouble of spirit. They must know that 
they are sins, otherwise continuance in them will not argue a total 
want of grace, or the predominant power of sensuality in the soul. 
I doubt not but in many dark places of this nation there may be 
those who live in a total omission of some duties, as praying with 
their families, and a strict sanctification of the Sabbath ; or who 
yet fear God in truth, and make great conscience of their conver- 
sations. These men neglect prayer, and devoting the Sabbath 
wholly to God, &c., because they do not know them to be their 
duties. And where a man desires and endeavours to know his 
master's will, and lives up to that light God hath given him, he 
may upon a general repentance expect pardon through the blood of 
Christ for sins of ignorance ; but those who live under the clear, 
and plain, and full discovery of the gospel, must know that these 
omissions are sins. Their ministers are not so ignorant or un- 
faithful as to leave them in the dark about such necessary duties. 
' Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doth it not, to 
him it is sin,' James iv. 17. The second thing in this allowance 

Chap. XXXIII.] the sinner's last sentence. 379 

is, to continue in these omissions, though we know them to be sins, 
and to be little or nothing troubled for them. And, I say, those 
who do so are in no good condition ; they shall be condemned at 
the great day. And my reasons are partly because it is proper to a 
wicked man to continue in sins. A sheep may fall into the ditch 
and defile himself, but he hastens out of it as soon as he can ; but 
the swine chooseth a dirty place, walloweth all the day long in the 
mud and mire. A saint may fall into sin, but he hasteneth to 
recover himself by repentance. A sinner lives in it day and 
night, Prov. iv. 17. It is their food in the day, and their refresh- 
ment in the night. Their sleep departeth from them, unless they 
cause some to fall. Hence we read, that sin is their way, or work, 
or conversation, Isa. Iv. 7. Partly because allowance of any sin 
is inconsistent with grace. Sin and grace are contrary each to 
other ; and, therefore, though they may be, and are in the same 
subject, yet they are not, they cannot be there together, but as 
enemies seeking the destruction one of another : ' The flesh lusteth 
against the spirit, and the spirit against flesh ; for these are con- 
trary the one to the other.' Fire and water are not more contrary 
than vice and grace, so that he who suffers vice without opposition 
declares plainly that he hath no grace, for these enemies never 
meet but they fight. Therefore, reader, examine thyself ; thou hast 
laid down the commission of evil, but hast thou taken up every 
known duty ? Thy reason will tell thee he is a bad husband who 
drains his ground, and then neither soweth nor planteth it. It is 
all one as if it had continued under water ; as good be undrained, 
as unimproved when drained. 


A ccmtion against sins of omission in regard of the matter 

of duties. 

ExJiort. If Christ will condemn men at the great day for sins of 
omission, it may exhort us to mind the doing of good, as well as 
the forbearing of evil, to be as watchful against sins of omission, as 
well as against sins of commission, and make conscience of affirma- 
tive as well as negative commands. Do not think it sufficient to 
forbear what is evil, unless also thou dost what is good. It is 
good not to be evil in doing what the law forbids, but it is evil also 
not to be good in doing what the law enjoins. The minister is not 
a good minister, because he doth not seduce, or mislead, or deceive 

380 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXXIII. 

his people by false doctrine, or scandalous living, if he do not 
teach them the right ways of the Lord, and be not instant with 
thena, in season and out of season, to know, and adore, and honour 
their Maker and Eedeemer. A good shepherd must look to good 
pastures for his sheep, as well as defend them from lions and 
wolves. Paul proves his integrity by this, that he kept nothing 
back that was profitable for his people, but taught them publicly, 
and from house to house, and that he declared unto them the 
whole counsel of Grod, Acts xx. 21, 22, 27. The magistrate is 
not a good magistrate, who can only say that he never oppressed or 
persecuted the innocent. He must be able to say with Job that he 
relieved them in their necessities, and redressed them in their 
grievances : ' I delivered the poor that cried, and him that had 
none to help. I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I 
brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his 
teeth,' Job xxix. 12, 15, 17. The Christian is not a good Christian 
that can tell us that he is a harmless man, he doth no mischief, he 
wrongs none in thought, word, or deed. The barren tree brings 
forth no bad fruit, yet it is cut down for the fire. He is an evil man 
that neglects what is good, as well as he that follows what is evil. 

Therefore, reader, cease to do evil, Ezek. xviii. 31 ; but let not 
that suffice, learn to do well, Isa. i. Remember to watch against 
what is evil. ' But also to do good and to distribute forget not : 
for with such sacrifice God is well pleased,' Heb. xiii. 16. To do 
good, and to pray in thy closet and family, and to read the Scrip- 
tures, and to instruct thy children and servants, and to sanctify 
the Lord's-day, and to visit the fatherless and widows in their affiic- 
tions, forget not, for with such sacrifice God is well pleased, 
2 Cor. vii. 1. ' Forsake the foolish,' this is well, but not enough, 
'and walk in the way of understanding.' 

The law of God must be kept tenderly, as the very apple of our 
eyes, Prov. vii. 2. The smallest dust will offend the eye, and the 
smallest omission will offend the law. If thy conscience be dis- 
pensatory, it is unholy. Fj-iend, thou hast largely heard how far 
short a negative religion will bring thee of heaven, and canst thou 
content thyself a moment therewith ? Nay, thou hast heard that 
for all that thou shalt be sent to hell, and wilt thou rest one day 
or night therein ? friend, be wise in time, and mind positive 
godliness whilst thou hast opportunity. 

In these days of the gospel, God is quick and speedy, sharp and 
severe, with men that are barren and unfruitful. Behold now, saith 
the Baptist, the axe is laid to the root of the tree. Behold, con- 


Chap, XXXIII.] the sinner's last sentence. 381 

sider now at this time, when the Eedeemer is coming, whose way 
I am preparing. Now the axe is laid to the root of the tree, Mat. 
iii. 10. He is now laying aside his basket, and taking up the axe ; 
yea, he lays his axe at the root of the tree, as one taking aim where 
to strike, and how to fell the tree with the greatest advantage ; 
therefore it concerns thee to be fruitful. Again, the apostle tells 
us that former times of gross darkness were overlooked by God, 
but now saith he, now his Son is come into the world, and he reveals 
his mercy and our duty so fully and clearly ; now he commands 
men everywhere to repent,' Acts xvii. 29, 30. Now he exhorts 
fruits meet for repentance, or he will not wink at your disobedience, 
but judge you to hell flames. And believe it, the valley of vision 
will prove the heaviest burden, and the highest means will cast 
thy soul into the lowest misery. Opportunities of doing good to 
our own and others' souls are choice mercies ; they are talents 
that must one day be reckoned for. Therefore, saith the blessed 
Eedeemer in the justification of Mary about the ointment, ' Me ye 
have not always ; ' the poor ye have always, and may do them good 
when ye will ; ' but me ye have not always.' Mary did well to im- 
prove the season she had in her hand, as knowing if once lost, it 
was lost for ever. 

The apostle Paul upon this account adviseth the Galatians, 
' While ye have time, do good to all,' Gal. vi. 10. Nothing more 
sads and dulls the heart when one comes to die, saith a divine now 
with God,i than his neglect of such opportunities which God's pro- 
vidence, or his own place, have put into his hands of doing or re- 
ceiving good. Nor is there a sharper corrosive than the reflection 
upon those days and times that have passed over him, male, aliud, 
nihil, ageniem. Ah, how sad and uncomfortable will it be for thy 
time to be gone, when thy work is not done ! when thy sun is set- 
ing, and the shadows of the evening are stretching themselves 
upon thee, for conscience to give thee this salute, Thy day is 
passed, thy time is wasted, the business of life is neglected, and 
now thine errors can never, never be amended. Ah, what a 
dreadful hour will a dying hour be to thee, when conscience shall 
plead against thee with whips, and scorpions, and flames, and not 
the dearest friend or relation thou hast be admitted to plead for 
thee, or be able to comfort thee ! But if the day of death will be 
so uncomfortable, how terrible will the day of judgment be ! Then 
it is that the saint shall reap the benefit of all the good he hath 
done, and the sinner shall reap the mischief of all the good he 

^ Essex Herse, p. 19. 

382 THE sinner's last sentence. [Chap. XXXIII. 

hath omitted or left undone. Then the idle servant that did not 
trade with his talent will be found an evil servant, and as such 
condemned to the ' worm that never dieth, and the fire that never 
goeth out,' Mat. xxv. Then the unfruitful factor will be found an 
unfaithful factor, and as such disowned and condemned by his 

Keader, believe it, though thou mayest live by a negative religion, 
yet thou canst not die by it, much less stand before the judgment- 
seat of Christ with it. It is true, even such a religion is of high 
price with men ; but if alone, it is abomination in the sight of God. 
Keader, let me reason the case with thee. In other things all are 
for fruitfulness in what is good. The husbandman would have his 
ground fruitful in good corn, as well as empty of weeds. He 
would have his cattle labour, and do him service, and thinks it not 
enough that they are in the stable or fields, and do him no hurt. 
The master would have his servant industrious in his shop or field, 
or some way or other about his business, and is not pleased to see him 
sit still all day, and forbear to purloin his goods, or fight with his 
fellow-servants. The father who sends his child to school would 
have him learn the languages, and profit daily therein, and without 
this will not be satisfied to hear that his child sits still all day at 
school, learns no oaths or blasphemies, calls no names, abuses none 
of his companions. And, reader, why should God be contented 
with thy harmlessness, when thou art barren and unprofitable ? 
Hath not God as much right to thee as thou hast to thy ground or 
cattle ? and art not thou as much bound to God as thy servant or 
child is bound to thee ? and why then shouldst thou think to put 
God off with that in thyself, which thou wilt not be put off with in 
thy ground, or cattle, or servant, or child ? Besides, I must tell 
thee, thou art not harmless if thou dost no good, though thou livest 
not in the commission of gross evils. The tree in the garden that 
brings not forth good fruit is hurtful, though it bring not forth evil 
fruit ; partly because it cumbers the ground, and takes up room to 
no purpose ; partly because it draws the moisture of the earth to it, 
and so hinders the thriving of those trees that are near it, who, but 
for them, would be more fruitful. So if thou neglectest what is 
good, though thou dost no open scandalous evil, thou art mis- 
chievous and hurtful in the place where thou livest. Thou takest 
up the room of a member that might be serviceable to God and 
his country. If thou wert gone, there might be one in thy house, 
place, lodging, kept and maintained by the great house-keeper of 
the world, with the same mercies with which thou livest, that 

Chap. XXXIIL] the sinner's last sentence. 383 

should adorn the gospel, glorify the name of God, and edify the 
souls of others ; and dost thou no harm then by hindering such a 
one ? Is not the drone hurtful, which idleth all the day, and 
lives upon the bees' labour, and forceth them sometimes to want 
because of her theft. Is not the wen in the body hurtful, when it 
serves to no use, yet sucks away the nourishment from other parts 
of the body ? Doth not that factor wrong the master who employs 
him if he let his stock lie still, though he do not waste it in riot- 
ousness, and drunkenness, and filthiness, when the master might 
have had one in his place who would have traded with it, and 
probably have improved it to his great advantage ? Did ever any 
merchant trust a servant with a stock to lie by him ? Nay, is 
nature itself content with the removal of what is oppressive ? doth 
it not long and breathe after what is perfective ? Is not the pre- 
sence of malum, what is evil, a burden ? So the absence of bonum, 
what is good, occasion of complaint ? There is ingrafted within 
us not only bathos, a depth of distaste against feared evils, but also 
hiatus, large desires after known good. As nature, much more 
doth religion, call men off what is bad, and provoke men to what is 
right, and just, and good. 

Keader, let me come up a little closer to thee. What is it that 
I am advising thee to ? Is it anything that is evil ? If it be, 
reject and renounce it. Is it not to be good, and to do good ? I 
will tell thee what I would desire of thee, and then do thou judge 
whether I advise thee as a friend, or whether my counsel be worth 
hearkening to or no. 

1. Take heed of external omissions. If thou hast been faulty 
herein, I would advise thee every day to mind prayer, Scripture, 
watchfulness over thy heart, tongue, and actions, diligence in thy 
calling, faithfulness in thy relations, and to do good to others as 
thou hast opportunity. Hereby thou wilt acknowledge thy depen- 
dence on, and subsistence by, the blessed God, to whom thou art 
I bound by